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Growth Across the Board as Consumers Increasingly Use the Instacart Marketplace

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Instacart

Sep 16, 2021

In this article we look at some recent insights into sales growth across categories as consumers increasingly shop at their favorite grocery retailers online through the Instacart marketplace.

The pandemic spurred tremendous growth in online grocery shopping, and recent data suggests much of that behavior has continued. Supermarket news, quoting a survey done by Coresight Research, wrote that roughly “60% of U.S. consumers now buy groceries online, and the same percentage of these shoppers plan to do so at the same frequency or more once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.” A Retail Insider article on a PayPal survey reports similar numbers, pointing to a growing sentiment among consumers that shopping for groceries online has become a sustained habit. 

On the Instacart marketplace, consumers can shop at their favorite grocery retailers online or via the app and have their order delivered the same day, in as little as 30 minutes. We provide speed and convenience to consumers, while empowering grocery retailers with the technology to grow their businesses. 

We’ve seen growth in sales and number of orders across the board suggesting, in-line with the sentiments expressed in the surveys mentioned above, that consumers are increasingly seeing online grocery shopping as the go-to way to shop.  

Back to school category growth 

Sales in many grocery categories are cyclical, influenced by seasonality and tentpole events (like Thanksgiving driving turkey sales). The back to school season acts as the starting line for many grocery categories as parents need lunches and snacks for their kids heading off for school. We recently published an article on the types of snacks and food parents are buying through the Instacart marketplace – not surprisingly, our data shows that when it comes to snacks for kids, cookies are quite popular! 

We also decided to look into the sales growth for these back to school categories. Would we see a noticeable increase in these categories even with the back to school season boost? Were parents still shopping for groceries online?

The answer was quite clear — yes. 

We saw double-digit sales growth month-over-month (MoM) for many categories associated with back to school — fruit, yogurt, cereal, snacks, and meal kits all saw significant growth, with the majority growing over 20% MoM and blueberries growing over 30% MoM. 

graph showing growth in many categories

Health and home category growth

Recent growth was not limited strictly to back to school categories. Categories within health and home had large MoM sales growth too. Again we saw double-digit growth among the top growing categories, the majority in the 30% growth range. Some standouts include aerosol disinfectants growing 82% MoM and cold and flu medicine growing 54%.

chart showing growth in household category

Winter is coming 

As we head into fall and cooler weather, we’d expect to see growth in some cold weather / winter seasonality foods on the Instacart marketplace. Similar to the growth in back to school season categories, we would not expect these categories to grow significantly if shoppers were returning to in-store grocery shopping. Instead, we see double digit growth, with soup growing 33%, herbal teas 32%, broths 30%, and pot pies 20% all MoM as consumers prepare for the change of the season by stocking up on cold weather items. 

In both what consumers are saying and how they are shopping, we see online grocery shopping as a sustained habit, part of the normal routine for the majority of households across the country. 

Interested in learning more insights about how your categories perform on the Instacart marketplace? Then you’ll want to partner with us

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