With pandemic shifting how many people shop, those trends may be here to stay

Posted at 11:52 AM, Apr 16, 2021

Pre-pandemic, some people scoffed at the idea of paying someone to do their grocery shopping. Others simply couldn't afford it or navigate the technology. Today, online grocery shopping is essential for many.

“Now, with online groceries, we see customers shopping at all hours of the day, they can schedule their deliveries for when they want them. That certainly began because people who were sheltering in place or staying at home needed to take care of the kids at home, but this behavior looks like it's going to stick,” said Lauren Romaniuk with Instacart.

The Sunday shopping experience isn't totally dying off, according to Instacart. They are seeing some return to weekend orders.

But in 2020, people got more accustomed to doing their grocery shopping mid-week.

Instacart compiled a massive report based on polling, customer data and chats between shoppers and clients. It found delivery time shrunk.

Nearly all of Instacart orders in 2020 were delivered in less than two hours, half in less than one hour.

Grocery shopping is also no longer the sole duty of the head of household. A broader age of customers are adding items to their cart and shopping for other family members.

“And we also see seniors doing a lot more shopping as well. They were actually our biggest growing segment on the platform. And for a lot of them, they had maybe not ordered anything online before, certainly not groceries, and so we actually had to stand up a new service center around this to help educate seniors on how to buy groceries online,” said Romaniuk.

Another trend that likely will stay keeping the house stocked – people say they learned even more about that than meal prep during the pandemic. And there's some positive influence online grocery shopping brought as well.

“And the other thing that changed too is because customers were cooking so much at home in the last year, they really became mindful of what they were putting into their bodies so many of our respondents told us that they plan to continue seeking healthy ingredients in the food that they go after and even when they go out to dine,” said Romaniuk.

Instacart, Shipt, Amazon and Walmart have similar pricing models. Annual memberships cost just under $100.