The online grocery business is expected to heat up over the holidays as major players such as Amazon, Wal-Mart and Kroger continue to ramp up their e-commerce efforts and expand into new markets.
Driving the growth is the fast grocery delivery services of Amazon and others and the expansion of curbside pickup by Wal-Mart Stores. Also, tech-savvy consumers have an increased comfort level with buying fresh foods online and see ordering groceries through an app as a way to save time and avoid checkout lines.
"Online grocery will take off this holiday season, with consumers buying more turkeys, cranberry sauce and stuffing online than ever, as a result of Wal-Mart, Kroger and others ramping up their e-grocery services," said John Mercer, a senior analyst and research head at Fung Global, a retail and technology think tank.
Online grocery purchases are expected to rise nearly 20 percent this year, according to market researcher Technomic. In contrast, the traditional brick-and-mortar supermarkets are projected to see just 2 percent growth in consumer spending.
Analysts say the holidays are particularly important for the online grocery delivery sector because there may be more consumers using it not just for restocking the refrigerator and pantry but for fill-in orders when they forget something from the supermarket and don't have time to run out and get it.
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