Walmart, Amazon lead the ranks in online grocery amid COVID-19

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,226 views 

Walmart wins market share in online grocery, but Amazon has a slightly higher customer satisfaction score, according to a recent shopping survey report from Retail Feedback Group (RFG).

As more consumers have turned to online commerce for their grocery shopping needs, Walmart and Amazon have emerged as market leaders but some traditional grocery supermarkets and those who use Instacart are also doing well.

“Grocers and analysts have traditionally segmented ‘in-store shoppers’ from ‘online shoppers.’ However, a key takeaway from our research is the extent to which individual shoppers are now buying groceries both in a store and online, and that this activity is strongest among the younger and growing generations,” said Doug Madenberg, RFG Principal. “We now have food shoppers who are able, and increasingly willing, to utilize a blend of physical stores and digital storefronts to meet their families’ needs, and it will be paramount to satisfy these shoppers going forward.”

On a scale of 1 to 5, Amazon scored 4.47 in online grocery customer satisfaction, putting the e-tail giant just ahead of Walmart at 4.38, according to the RFG survey which was completed in late April to early May. Supermarkets and food stores rated at 4.33 for their online shopping experience, below the overall satisfaction score of 4.38. Instacart-fulfilled service earned a score of 4.35.

In-stock conditions and order turnaround were chief concerns of online grocery shoppers, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the report. About half (51%) of those surveyed said their online retailer/service had everything in stock they wanted to buy, while 49% didn’t find everything they needed. For those encountering out-of-stocks, 17% were able to purchase acceptable substitutions for all unavailable items, while 50% were able to procure acceptable substitutions for some not-in-stock items and 33% found no such substitutions.

Respondents rated the availability of convenient pickup/delivery times at 4.22 on the scale from 1 to 5. Amazon had a score of 4.32, Walmart was 4.21, the same as Instacart, and 4.15 for supermarkets.

In RFG’s study, Amazon achieved the highest score in most areas of online grocery customer satisfaction, which also included easy navigation to desired products, smooth website/app performance and checkout process, and easy-to-find and -apply discounts. Walmart led in its online grocery service being a good value for the money, with a score of 4.34 versus 4.20 for Amazon, 4.09 for Instacart and 4.05 for supermarkets. Overall, survey respondents rated their online grocery experience at 4.20 in terms of being a good value for the money.

“Considering the sudden, sizable pressure on online grocery shopping during the pandemic, it is noteworthy overall satisfaction registered as high as it did,” noted Brian Numainville, a spokesman at RFG.

The survey also looked at market share indicating how often consumers shopped the various retailers in the past 30 days. Walmart was the clear winner in market share at 40%, up 37% from the survey in 2019. However, supermarkets saw the biggest gain in online shopping usage at 34%, up from 22% in 2019. That percentage fell to 14% from 29% last year for Amazon, while all other providers saw their share hold steady at 12%.

RFG also found 36% of the respondents said they were first-time online shoppers for grocery amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A majority of respondents said they shopped Amazon and Walmart more frequently in the past 30 days for online grocery at 55% and 51%, respectively.