Meal Kit Subscriptions Eat Away at Brick-and-Mortar Grocers’ Market Share

couple opening meal kit

With consumers getting pre-portioned ingredients from online subscriptions, PYMNTS Intelligence reveals, many are spending less time shopping for groceries in stores.

By the Numbers

The report “The Replenish Economy: A Household Supply Deep Dive,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and collaboration, draws from a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers in September to examine the impacts retail subscriptions have on consumer shopping habits.

chart, retail subscriptions

Among the various retail subscription services, HelloFresh stands out with an above-average percentage of subscribers visiting physical stores less frequently. The study reveals that 47% of HelloFresh subscribers have reduced their visits to brick-and-mortar stores, significantly higher than the 42% that said the same across retail subscriptions.

The findings of this research have significant implications for traditional grocers. With the rise of retail subscriptions and the subsequent decrease in physical store visits, retailers need to adapt and find innovative ways to engage with customers.

A Deeper Dive

Notably, brick-and-mortar continues to account for the lion’s share of total grocery orders, at least for now. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Catching the Coming eCommerce Wave,” created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, which drew from a census-balanced survey of nearly 2,700 U.S. consumers, revealed that 87% of grocery transactions are carried out in stores, and only 12% occur online.

Some grocers — take, for instance, Trader Joe’s — are doubling down on brick-and-mortar rather than shifting to digital. On an episode of the “Inside Trader Joe’s” podcast, the retailer spoke to the motivations behind its lack of online shopping and delivery options.

“It’s that experience of being inside the four walls of Trader Joe’s that makes Trader Joe’s what it is,” Trader Joe’s Vice President of Marketing Tara Miller said. “That experience would not be the same if you were trying to order something from a website that just showed you the products you already know about. … When you are shopping virtually as opposed to in a physical space, you tend to have blinders on, and you see the products you are already looking for.”