Publix, Kroger battle for online sales after COVID surge. How will delivery service look like in the future?

Publix, Kroger battle for online sales after COVID surge. How will delivery service look like in the future?

LAKELAND – As Publix and Kroger battle for more online sales, their efforts could be well timed. A report by industry analysts shows overall online grocery sales expanded 4.7% in August this year compared with a year ago.

It could be too soon to determine whether the online business at grocery retailers, which grew during the recent COVID surge, will continue into next year as the pandemic is expected to wane.

According to a Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, the overall U.S. online grocery market generated $8.6 billion in sales during August.

The report breaks down three ways customers order food online: 

  • Ship-to-home, in which items are sent via parcel delivery service, much like Amazon does.
  • Delivery, in which groceries are delivered to a home via specialized delivery services, much like Kroger Deliver, or Publix’s use of Instacart. 
  • And pickup, in which customers order online then pick the items up at the store. 

Subscribers:Kroger is delivering groceries around Florida now. What to know and should Publix worry?

Kroger began grocery deliveries in Florida in June, covering an area from Sarasota to Cocoa and Jacksonville from a hub in Groveland and two spokes in Tampa and Jacksonville.

The year-over-year sales gain was driven by a strong uptick in the number of Americans going online and using a pickup or delivery service to satisfy their essential grocery needs, according to Brick Meets Click partner David Bishop.

“COVID’s resurgence has clearly contributed to the August sales gain,” Bishop said in a press release. “While retailers don’t control the external market forces, such as the new wave of COVID cases that continued through August, they can choose how effectively their business is positioned to respond to the current circumstances that are disrupting their customers’ lives.” 

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