The Inside Scoop on Digital Basket Size Increases

Tim Denman
February 10, 2023
The Inside Scoop on Digital Basket Size Increases

At A Glance

  • Overall basket sizeincreased by 51.4% year-over-year in January.
  • Digital baskets increased by 39.7%.
  • The average number of items in a digital basket increased by 4.
  • Digital grocery sales increased by 2.9%.
  • Find out what is driving these increases.

Average digital basket size is rising, up nearly 40% year-over-year in January. At first glance, this may seem like a windfall for grocers, but a deeper look into what is driving the increase tells a different story.

According to Grocery Doppio's "State of Digital Grocery Performance Scorecard, January 2023," overall grocery basket size increased by an average of 51.4% in January year-over-year, with digital baskets enjoying a 39.7% bump over January 2022 performance.

This is an incredible increase at face value, but there is always more hiding in the numbers. While the boost in basket size is undoubtedly impressive, it indicates more significant changes in shopper behavior.

"I look at this as the curious case of consumer baskets," said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer, Incisiv. "If you go back to the pandemic, digital basket size was high. Once things opened up, we saw digital baskets go down because there was a huge desire by consumers to go back to the store. Shoppers were making more frequent visits and changing their consumption patterns.

"Last year, as inflation trended up, basket sizes went up, but total items dropped. Consumers were spending as much, if not more, but getting less for that spend. As inflation normalized, total items increased, and basket size went up."

Shoppers have added those items they trimmed from their orders during peak inflation back to their baskets, contributing significantly to the overall rise in average basket value. In addition, those items added back into the basket have been added back at a higher price point due to ongoing inflation, further contributing to the bump in overall basket value.

In addition to adding previously deleted items back to their carts, shoppers are making fewer grocery shopping trips. According to the January Performance Scorecard, despite the 39.7% increase in digital order size, grocers enjoyed an overall increase in digital sales of just 2.9%.

Yes, shoppers spend more each time they make a grocery purchase, but those purchases come less frequently. This drop in the frequency of digital and physical grocery shopping means shoppers must buy more during each trip, increasing overall basket size. From a digital perspective, this increase in basket size brings a unique set of challenges that put grocers' operational prowess to the test.

"The biggest challenge from a shopper satisfaction perspective is that the more items in an order, the greater chance something will not be picked correctly," said Pant.

Grocers must address digital order accuracy if they are going to meet shopper expectations and increase overall digital profitability. According to Grocery Doppio's "2022 Performance Scorecard: State of Digital Grocery" report, grocers lost $23 billion in digital sales last year due to "unavailable" or "unsubstituted" items.

For more insight into the current state of the digital grocery industry, be sure to read the full "State of Digital Grocery Performance Scorecard, January 2023."