Uber, Stop & Shop add grocery delivery services, with seafood continuing sales increase streak

Grocery e-commerce sales spiked, and fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable seafood sales grew again in June, as U.S. consumers continued to shift their food buying from foodservice to retail.

U.S. online grocery sales climbed 9 percent in June to USD 7.2 billion (EUR 6.4 billion), according to a new Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey. Fully 45.6 million households used delivery and pickup services to fulfill a larger portion of their grocery needs, Brick Meets Click/ Mercatus said in a press release. The increase was almost entirely driven by a 9 percent increase among shoppers in the over-60 age segment since May.

“The growth of total sales in June was fueled by increased concerns about the coronavirus and additional online fulfillment capacity across the markets,” the two research firms said.

In June, 44 percent of all households reported high levels of concern about someone in their household contracting COVID-19, up 2 percent from the previous month.

Growing interest in home-delivery services has led another big player in food delivery branch into groceries. On 6 July, Uber announced it was buying food delivery service Postmates for USD 2.65 billion (EUR 2.35 billion). The next day, 7 July, it said it would launch a grocery delivery service in Miami, Florida and Dallas, Texas, as well as elsewhere in North America.

“In collaboration with our partner Cornershop, customers in select cities in Latin America and Canada can order groceries through both the Uber and Uber Eats apps,” the company said in a press release.

Not wanting to be excluded from the trend, many retailers are seeking to create their own delivery partnerships and initiatives. The effect has been a growing capacity for online order fulfillment via pick-up and home delivery increased as more retailers, especially independents, have launched services. The trend has alleviated a bottleneck that occurred in delivery services soon after coronavirus-related lockdowns went into effect nationwide in April.

On 1 July, Quincy, Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop announced it will add three new warehouses and at least 50 more pick-up locations by the end of this year. It has also expanded its availability on Instacart, making same-day delivery with Instacart available at a total of 321 Stop & Shop stores, the retailer said in a press release.

In addition, Pomona, California-based Asian special supermarket Seafood City has partnered with Local Express, an e-commerce platform for independent grocers, to provide its customers with the option to select curbside pickup or home delivery.

And Landover, Maryland-based Giant Food also recently streamlined its e-grocery e-commerce offering, joining the former Peapod.com and Giantfood.com at Giantfood.com.

“The new Giantfood.com brings customers the flexibility to shop how and when they like through the new seamless platform, with the same quality of products they expect in any of our stores," Giant Food President Ira Kress said in press release.

Retail seafood sales are benefitting from shoppers’ continued shift from eating out to grocery purchases.

Sales of fresh seafood spiked 58.9 percent to nearly USD 163 million (EUR 144 million) for the week ending 27 June, according to Nielsen data provided to SeafoodSource.

Sales of fresh lobster spiked 291.8 percent, followed by crab (up 150.5 percent), clams (up 80.1 percent), and snapper (up 79.4 percent).

Frozen seafood sales, which had spiked more than 50 percent during some weeks in May, increased by 20.8 percent to reach around USD 1.2 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) for the week ending 27 June.

Frozen crab had the biggest sales gain of 168.6 percent in the sub-category, followed by scallops (up 106.6 percent), crawfish and crayfish (up 100.8 percent), and mussels (89.4 percent).

Shelf-stable seafood also saw a more modest gain of 12.2 percent for the week ending 27 June. Still, sales of canned and pouched seafood reached nearly USD 4.9 billion (EUR 4.3 billion) for the week.

Meanwhile, many Americans say they plan to continue online shopping and using grocery delivery and pickup, even if the COVID-19 surge subsides.

Interest in receiving an online grocery orders (via pickup or home delivery) rose 2 percent in June as 32 percent of all households said they were “extremely or very likely” to use a service within the next 90 days, Brick Meets Click said.

“Even as many U.S. regions reopen, 73 percent of consumers are not comfortable going back to ‘regular’ out-of-home activities,” McKinsey & Co. found in a recent survey. “Most consumers are waiting for milestones beyond governments lifting restrictions – they are waiting for medical authorities to voice their approval, safety measures to be put in place, and a vaccine and/or treatments to be developed.”

Many more consumers have placed e-commerce orders and have adopted digital and contactless services such as curbside pickup, delivery, and drive-through, according to McKinsey.

Graphic courtesy of Brick Meets Click


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