E-commerce giants outdoing national retailersIn Canada, Amazon and Walmart were the most popular online retailers of groceries, beverages, and meal kits. As a global marketplace, Amazon could offer a broader merchandise variety. Indeed, the sheer number of SKUs of packaged food offered by Amazon overshadows its competitors. In addition, the Canadian division of Walmart registered three-digit growth rates in e-commerce sales in 2021. In 2020, national grocery retailers like Loblaws, Sobey, or Metro did well in terms of total grocery sales, but their revenue growth from online channels is stabilizing, as quarterly data from retailer Metro suggests.
Bigger than pandemic fearsBy the end of 2020, convenience was the main driver for online grocery shopping among Canadian consumers, who seemed less concerned by health risks related to the shopping experience, if compared to a few months before. Despite high satisfaction with experienced online grocery services, the mentioned pain points were multiple: out of stocks, shipment fees, and products’ assortment.
The pandemic hasn’t changed the general preferences of online shoppers, still eager to buy their groceries from traditional stores and have them delivered at home. In addition, surveys on purchase frequency indicated that slightly over one-third of Canadians would shop online once or twice a month. Compared to pre-pandemic times, they would purchase more often from large stores than from local independent stores.