US Grocery Retailing Market Report 2021
[{"name":"Supermarkets and Grocery","url":"https:\/\/store.mintel.com\/industries\/retail\/supermarkets-grocery"}]
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant and widespread impact on the grocery sector; accelerating ecommerce growth by years and causing people to change their grocery shopping routines in a more…

US Grocery Retailing Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)


Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Grocery Retailing market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

While the US grocery market share saw the lowest rates of ecommerce out of any retail category before the pandemic, the sudden and dramatic shift caused by the 2020 pandemic saw the sector grow rapidly by 12.2%. With many non-essential businesses closed and people forced to stay at home for long periods of the year, many were driven to shopping for groceries online through necessity.

The unexpected shift to online shopping caught many grocers off-guard, and many are still trying to adjust to the change in routine, protocol and demand. While there was a surge in demand for panic buying early in the year, consumers have now transitioned to prioritising essential goods as economic uncertainty limits budgets.

Despite the major boost to the sector, online grocery retail sales are expected in decline throughout 2021 as the pandemic subsides and things return to normality. However, there may be longer-lasting effects on the market, with more people now being aware and confident with buying more diverse product ranges online. Brands and companies will need to work to help improve online shopping experiences, as well as offering fast deliveries and flexible in-store pickup options.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our US Food and Foodservice market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the grocery market.
  • Where consumers are doing their grocery shopping and why they choose their primary grocer.
  • How consumers are doing their shopping, and the evolving role of ecommerce in the path to purchase.
  • What in-store retail concepts and services consumers are most interested in seeing from grocers.

Covered in this report

Grocery Retailers: Supermarkets, warehouse clubs, natural markets, drug stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, internet retailers.

Grocery Types: Food, beverages, household goods (cleaning products, toilet paper, garbage bags), personal care products.

Brands: Hy-Vee, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Dollar Tree, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize (Giant Food, Stop & Shop), H-E-B, Costco, Publix Super Markets, Target, Walgreens, Meijer Inc, Aldi, CVS, 7-Eleven, Wakefern Food Corp., Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Diana Smith, a leading analyst in the Retail & Apparel sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant and widespread impact on the grocery sector; accelerating ecommerce growth by years and causing people to change their grocery shopping routines in a more mindful way as they look to be efficient with their time spent in stores and frugal with their grocery budgets. As essential retailers, grocers can play a leading role in helping consumers manage the pandemic, including providing meal planning assistance and nutritional guidance. Looking ahead, the future of grocery will be shaped by digital evolution and automation that improves speed – speed of stocking shelves, in-store checkout, delivery and more.

Diana Smith
Associate Director – Retail & eCommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Multi-outlet sales and fan chart forecast of groceries, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on grocery
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on grocery, April 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Online grocery was growing pre-pandemic, but has leapfrogged ahead by years
    • Support shoppers’ overall wellbeing with helpful tips and advice
    • Technology advancements will support grocers and shoppers
    • Reinstate consumers’ enjoyment of grocery shopping
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • 2020 was an anomaly, boosting sales 12%
    • Majority of multi-outlet grocery sales do not occur in supermarkets
    • Consumers want to boost their immune system and stay healthy
    • Down economy drives shoppers to prioritize value
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Groceries prioritized amid pandemic, yielding huge sales boost
      • Figure 3: Multi-outlet sales and fan chart forecast of groceries, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 4: Multi-outlet sales and forecast of groceries, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on grocery
      • Figure 5: Coronavirus behaviors, April 16, 2020-February 10, 2021
  5. Segment Performance

    • Other channels, led by Walmart, continue to outperform supermarkets
      • Figure 6: Multi-outlet sales and forecast of groceries, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Food and drink should remain dominant grocery segment; opportunity for supermarkets to grow in other areas
      • Figure 7: Multi-outlet sales of groceries, by category, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 8: Hy-Vee Pharmacy promotion
  6. Market Factors

    • COVID-19 reverses what was a growing trend in favor of food away from home
      • Figure 9: Sales of food at home and away from home, January 2010-November 2020
      • Figure 10: Comfort with select activities and behaviors amid Covid-19, January 28-Febuary 10, 2021
    • Americans are trying to eat healthier
      • Figure 11: Anticipated future food-related behaviors, November 2020
    • Food price increases in a down economy puts strain on consumers
      • Figure 12: Average household spending on groceries, 2015-20
      • Figure 13: Financial health, by household income, March 19-April 2, 2021
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Top US grocers evenly comprised of traditional supermarkets and other MULO outlets
    • Pandemic continues; grocers adjust while preparing for more change
    • Grocers turn to technology to make grocery shopping easier
  8. Company Sales of Grocery Retailers

    • Half of top 20 grocery retailers are not traditional supermarkets
      • Figure 14: Top US grocery retailers, 2020 (for 2019 sales)
  9. Competitive Strategies

    • Albertsons teams up with Google to advance omnichannel offerings
      • Figure 15: Albertsons and Google partner to reimagine grocery shopping
    • Walmart bets big on omnichannel, with emphasis on grocery
    • TJ’s aims to make grocery shopping more inclusive by helping people with autism
      • Figure 16: Trader Joe’s supports shoppers with autism
    • Kroger helps shoppers make healthy choices with enhanced app
    • More stores, new concepts
      • Figure 17: H-E-B new store concept in Lubbock, Texas
      • Figure 18: More Amazon Fresh stores open in 2021
  10. Market Opportunities

    • Enforce hygiene protocols
    • Adjust to shopping behavioral changes
    • Extend community outreach
    • Consider partnerships with other companies
  11. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Shopping frequency has declined
    • Physical stores still preferred, despite huge ecommerce spike
    • Supermarkets remain top choice for grocery shopping overall, but not among all consumers
    • Consumers seek grocers close to home that offer fresh foods
    • A more proactive and conscious approach to grocery shopping
    • Shoppers open to recipe ideas and healthy eating options from grocers
    • Grocery shoppers look forward to the day when free samples return
  12. Grocery Shopping Overview

    • Who’s shopping?
    • Nearly all adults do some degree of grocery shopping
      • Figure 19: Grocery shopping responsibility, by gender and generation, January 2021
    • How often they shop
    • Shopping frequency down due to pandemic
      • Figure 20: Shopping frequency, by gender and generation, January 2021
    • Where they shop
    • Most grocery shopping still occurs in-store, despite ecommerce gains amid pandemic
      • Figure 21: Shopping methods, January 2021
      • Figure 22: Shopping methods, by generation, January 2021
      • Figure 23: Preferred shopping method by trip type, January 2021
    • The pandemic effect
    • Online shopping, stock-ups and trip consolidation represent primary behavioral changes during COVID-19
      • Figure 24: Shopping behaviors during COVID-19, January 2021
  13. Shopping by Category

    • All categories likely to be shopped online more in future
      • Figure 25: Shopping for major categories – Online versus in-store, January 2021
    • Category impacts amid pandemic
  14. Retailers Shopped In-store

    • Supermarkets remain top preferred retail outlet for groceries
      • Figure 26: Retailers shopped in-store, January 2021
    • Younger shoppers more likely to head to Walmart, Target or a natural supermarket
      • Figure 27: Retailers shopped in-store, by generation, January 2021
    • Consumers stay close to home during pandemic
  15. Reasons for Preferred Grocery Retailer

    • Loyal to proximity
      • Figure 28: Reasons for preferred physical grocery retailer, January 2021
    • Women much more likely to value proximity and freshness
      • Figure 29: Reasons for preferred physical grocery retailer, by gender, January 2021
  16. In-store Shopping Behaviors

    • Grocery shopping a more proactive and planned-out process
      • Figure 30: In-store shopping behaviors, January 2021
      • Figure 31: Trader Joe’s promotes prepared foods
    • Older consumers more set in routines
      • Figure 32: In-store shopping behaviors, by generation, January 2021
    • When a desired brand isn’t available…what do consumers do?
  17. Attitudes toward In-store Grocery Shopping

    • Consumers generally positive about in-store grocery shopping
      • Figure 33: Attitudes toward in-store shopping, January 2021
    • Grocers can take a more proactive approach to providing consumers with what they want
      • Figure 34: Select attitudes toward in-store shopping, by generation, January 2021
      • Figure 35: Kroger hosts webinar on food waste
      • Figure 36: Whole Foods promotes tips and food pairings
    • Consumers grow more open to store brands
      • Figure 37: Attitudes toward store brands, by household income and generation, January 2021
  18. Interest in In-store Retail Concepts

    • Concepts that offer convenience or invite discovery garner the most interest
      • Figure 38: Interest in in-store retail concepts, January 2021
    • Younger shoppers more interested in experiential in-store concepts
      • Figure 39: Interest in in-store retail concepts, January 2021
  19. Interest in Shopping App Functionality

    • App usage overall is low, but will grow as consumers learn they can save time and/or money
      • Figure 40: Interest in shopping app functionality, by generation, January 2021
  20. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms
  21. Appendix – The Market

    • Inflation-adjusted forecasts
      • Figure 41: Multi-outlet sales and forecast of groceries, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 42: Supermarket sales and forecast of groceries, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 43: Sales and forecast of groceries through other multi-outlet channels, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
    • Retail channels by category sales
      • Figure 44: Supermarket sales of groceries, by category, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 45: Sales of groceries through other multi-outlet channels, by category, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 46: Multi-outlet sales of food and drink, by retail channel, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 47: Multi-outlet sales of general merchandise, by retail channel, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 48: Multi-outlet sales of HBC, by retail channel, at current prices, 2015-20
  22. Appendix – Companies and Brands

      • Figure 49: Top US grocery retailers, brands/concepts included, 2020
  23. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 50: Shopping behaviors during COVID-19, by gender and generation, January 2021

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report
2024 Sample Consumer Cover

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us with your enquiry and our expert global team can help.

Get in touch