The online grocery market in the United States is expected to reach more than $147 billion in 2022, a 20.5% annual increase. This is set to continue rising in the coming years, with its value forecast to hit $243 billion by 2025. The rapidly rising sales signal an increase in the popularity of shopping for groceries online and growing food prices

But what is the online grocery market penetration? Or, simply put—how many people buy groceries online?

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US online grocery sales statistics

According to recent data, as of Q1 2022, the online grocery market penetration in the US is at 38.5%. In other words, nearly two out of every five US households purchase groceries over the internet. This marks a 0.7 percentage point quarterly increase from Q4 2021 and a 3.9 percentage point rise year over year. It is also the highest-ever penetration rate recorded in at least 10 quarters.

Statistics show that online grocery market penetration rates have been rising quickly in recent years. In the final quarter of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, just 19.4%—fewer than one in five—of US households bought groceries online. This is close to half of the current rate, which shows how quickly US consumers have adopted online grocery shopping in the past two years.

In fact, in the previous 10 quarters, online grocery market penetration rates in the US have increased almost every quarter. Rates fell only twice—in Q3 2020 and Q3 2021—but rebounded immediately in the next quarter. 

Analysts credit the rising online grocery market penetration to the pandemic, which forced consumers to stay home and accelerated their use of digital services to acquire products. Online grocery sales statistics also show that the number of shoppers buying groceries digitally doubled during the pandemic, and even though restrictions have been relaxed, consumers continue to use online grocery services.

Online grocery penetration: US stores

If you’re thinking about starting an online grocery store, you’ll also need to understand the current market—particularly where consumers are buying their groceries from online.

Currently, the most popular online grocery stores are Walmart and Amazon, with their online grocery sales in 2022 forecast at $37.6 billion and $35.1 billion, respectively. This is followed by Kroger, with $18.4 billion, and Target and Albertsons, with around $7.5 billion each.

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