Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, online sales of food and beverages in the U.S. have been growing rapidly and totaled about $17 billion in 2018. They are forecast to increase 32% per year through 2023, according to Packaged Facts in the report U.S. Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era (published June 2020).
Yet, while e-commerce sales are growing rapidly, they still represent a very small percentage—about 4%—of total food and beverage sales.
The impact of online sales varies by food category, ranging from less than 1% to 3% of sales. Coffee and tea sell the best, while dairy and juices do not do as well online. Fresh perishable beverages, as is the trend with foods, tend to sell less well online due to shipping and use-by dating concerns.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have fought back against internet-only companies like Amazon by allowing consumers to choose between home delivery and store pickup (click-and-collect) when ordering online. The latter has proved to be very popular, with 36% of online purchasers having placed click-and-collect orders in 2019, as Packaged Facts’ National Online Survey data show.