US Online Grocery Snapshot: Q1 2021


Data Shows Which Essentials Shoppers Most Frequently Buy Online

Forrester research shows the fear of shopping in stores and contracting COVID-19 is still very much top of mind for consumers. And this is a global story, with e-commerce growth outpacing brick-and-mortar sales growth by a large multiple in virtually every category, including grocery.

Forrester worked with IRI to understand what online grocery shoppers are buying now and at which e-commerce stores. As a result of the pandemic, the online grocery industry has seen:

  • Accelerated growth across all categories. Forrester and IRI split online grocery into eight major subcategories: general merchandise, home care, health, beauty, refrigerated items, frozen items, general food and beverages.
  • Continued high penetration of nonperishables. The bulk of e-commerce sales (71%) continues to be in nonfood, shelf-stable products, most of which has thrived during the pandemic, no doubt due to concerns around health and sanitation.
  • Growth of Amazon and Walmart. Forrester research shows consumers are buying more at marketplaces like Amazon in general across all categories. IRI E-Market Insights data show this is true for grocery too. IRI data also show that shoppers are spending more with Walmart.
  • Success with super premium items. A much greater percentage of e-commerce grocery sales are of super premium items compared to the percentage of comparable items sold in physical grocery sales.
View this report to find out which categories grew the fastest and what’s happening in grocery as shoppers continue to eat at home versus in restaurants.


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