Online sales of food and beverages in the United States reached $17 billion in 2018, making the U.S. the second largest food e-commerce market in the world with 15% of global sales, according to U.S. Grocery Market Focus: The Amazon Food Shopper, 2nd Edition, a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts.
Through 2023, food e-commerce sales in the U.S. are forecast to increase 32% per year. As the availability of online grocery shopping expands and consumers begin to embrace online shopping for its convenience compared to shopping in-store, sales are expected to rise dramatically.
“This is undoubtedly a market that is ripe for rapid expansion,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.
Strong commitments to developing online grocery services by Amazon and Walmart—the nation’s two largest food e-commerce players — have helped boost market growth. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market in June 2017 and its expansion into perishable items through AmazonFresh and Amazon Prime Pantry have prompted Walmart to increase investment in promoting online services and curbside pickup. Such activities have in turn helped convince other grocery retailers to adapt to e-commerce in order to remain competitive.
E-commerce in general in the U.S. has been quick to develop due to:
- cultural preference for convenience
- a highly developed network of stores and malls
- consumer tendency to spend significant amounts of time online
For online grocery shopping specifically, the combination of three elements helped create a perfect environment for growth in the U.S. between 2013 and 2018:
- increased mobile/smartphone usage
- improved website and mobile app interfaces
- expansion of crowdsourced business models to delivery and shopping
Analysis in U.S. Grocery Market Focus: The Amazon Food Shopper, 2nd Edition is devoted to the role Amazon plays in shaping grocery trends, with attention paid to Amazon cross-usage among major food retailers over time; consumer usage of Amazon services such as Amazon Fresh, Subscribe & Save and Prime Pantry; the effect of Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition on the marketplace (including demographic synergies across market areas); and its effect on prepared foods such as fresh meal kits.