Walmart: Weekly Active Digital Users Grow 20%

Walmart’s second quarter fiscal year 2024 results show a continued trend in strong spending on groceries — and a widening embrace of digital channels by consumers to get the daily shopping done, including across third-party marketplace offerings. 

Materials released by the company alongside earnings on Thursday (Aug. 17) detail that weekly active digital users grew by more than 20% and that marketplace customer counts were up by 14% (without the current tallies quantified in those same materials). Also, eCommerce sales surged by 24% in the U.S.

Private Label Gaining Ground in Groceries

And in drilling down into the spending activity, Walmart said that comparable sales were up 6.4%, marked strength in grocery and health and wellness, offset by softness in general merchandise.  

 Grocery sales were up high single-digit percentage points, and health and wellness product sales were up by double-digit percentage points as the company gained share with high-income shoppers.

Elsewhere, Sam’s Club same-store sales were up 5.5%, as eCommerce sales were up 18% in the period.

Private label offerings also are gaining popularity among consumers, as the company’s private label sales tied to grocery items were up 9% year on year.

During the conference call with analysts, CEO Doug McMillon said that as consumers are more budget conscious, “that gives us an opportunity to drive conversion and more discretionary categories,” and noted that “our curbside pickup business continues to grow as people look for ways to save time and store fulfilled. Delivery is now growing faster than pickup across all three segments.” Later commentary on the call via management revealed that utilization of Scan and Go increased 5.7% and curbside pickup saw double-digit growth.

The continued growth has pushed the commerce juggernaut to raise its top-line growth outlook to 4% to 4.5% for the current fiscal year, where that tally had been roughly 3.5% previously. Shares were down roughly a percent in intraday trading on Thursday.  

Walmart’s results stand in stark contrast to Target’s results released yesterday (Aug. 16), which indicated a decline in comp sales of more than 5% and digital comp sales that dipped by 10.5%.   

Walmart CFO John Rainey said on the call that, outside the U.S., Flipkart eCommerce grew 26% and annualized total payment volume topped $1.2 trillion. 

And in a nod to an increase in membership rosters, the CFO said that Sam’s Club U.S. member counts increased mid-single digits “with strong [Walmart+] membership growth and renewals.”

During the question and answer session with analysts, McMillon noted that back-to-school shopping activity thus far has been resilient and encouraging and said that “typically when back to school is strong, it, it bodes well for what happens with Halloween and Christmas and [general merchandise] in the back half [of the year].” 

In addition, he said, there are categories of general merchandise spending across the marketplace that have been up double-digit percentage points — including home apparel and hard lines, “which really gives you an indication of how our business is changing as we’re selling more third party assortments.”