Grocery shopping habits are continuously changing. In a world of instant gratification, Instacart has become an integral part of providing grocery customers with convenience and the luxury of speedy delivery right to their doorsteps.
In fact, the rising number of seniors using Instacart to buy groceries, and the shifting of grocery shopping schedules from weekends to weekdays has fueled Instacart's growth. With shoppers wanting quick, easy access to their groceries more than ever before, Instacart is in an invigorating spot primed for growth. Consumers are recognizing the convenience and speed it offers—a monumental opportunity that's waiting to be reaped.
As restrictions continue to be relaxed or lifted, online grocery delivery services like Instacart still remain popular. This is due in part to the convenience that such services bring. Other factors that are likely to contribute to the continued rise of online grocery shopping and delivery services include the new normal of working from home and how this has brought about new habits and the opportunity to save money on things like gas and parking fees.
According to a survey, traffic to the app in December 2022 was over 34 million, then almost 33 million in January 2023. February 2023 showed a rather small but still significant decrease in traffic of less than 30 million. Despite the decrease, Instacart 's user engagement remained high. This can be attributed to the platform's new marketing and promotional campaigns, as well as its focus on customer service and experience.
While over 97% of Instacart users are in the United States, the demographics of the app's audience are closely split between the male and female gender distribution. Most of the visitors also fall under the 25-34 age group. This means that the grocery delivery service has a large and diverse customer base.
Let’s take a closer look at Instacart, one of the key players in the rise of online grocery shopping, its revenue, usage, and other key statistics.
Instacart Statistics, Revenue, Growth & Usage:
What Is Instacart?
Founded in 2012 by Apoorva Mehta, a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Instacart is a grocery delivery and pick-up service that operates in the US and Canada. Headquartered in San Francisco, its services can be accessed by users via its website or mobile app. Instacart stemmed from the potential of grocery delivery as “the largest market in plain sight,” shares Mehta.
While grocery delivery isn't a new idea, it wasn't seen much before the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, shoppers had yet to embrace this concept due in part to service providers lacking the ability and determination to keep up with digital advancements. Now though, there's been an undeniable shift as more innovative solutions opened doors for groceries being brought straight from store shelves into customers' homes.
With Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods in 2017, the grocery delivery revolution had officially begun. Since then, a flurry of retail giants joined the competition to ensure customers get their groceries and necessities with immediacy–Walmart acquiring Parcel for same-day last-mile delivery and Target snatching up Shipt for same-day orders. Grocery shopping has never been simpler or more convenient than it is today.
Many companies, such as Walmart and Target, have ramped up their online grocery services. Even if Instacart was not on the top 5 list of companies that led the charge in online grocery shopping, it was strategically partnered with these various stores to deliver groceries to customers.
Instacart has seen phenomenal success since its inception, yet the company is not without fault. Numerous reports of "tip-baiting" and tip stealing have been exposed over time, with customers luring shoppers in with false offers of generous tips only to take it back after delivery. After much backlash from this unjust behavior, Instacart amended its tipping policy for a more equitable experience—making sure everyone who deserves it gets highly deserved recognition.
Another issue that came up was the safety of shoppers. Since many of them are contractors from the gig economy, they don’t have the same benefits and protections as full-time employees. Instacart has since implemented safety protocols to ensure their continued health and safety while on duty.
Despite these challenges, Instacart's workforce is 10,000 strong, positioning Instacart as a major player in the online grocery shopping industry. In fact, last year, they launched the Instacart Platform that provides retailers with an end-to-end suite of solutions that enables them to grow.
Dubbed the “Instacart Effect,” this term describes the relationship between the grocery delivery platform’s growth and the grocery industry’s growth, which has benefitted the various stakeholders within the industry, including retailers, workers, and consumers.
Instacart has been a valuable tool for growth, enabling brick-and-mortar establishments across the country to expand their reach and gain a competitive edge by providing their products online.
How to Use Instacart
Instacart operates on the premise of connecting you with Instacart Shoppers in your area. These Shoppers shop from your favorite stores and deliver the items to you within a span of one hour.
You shop online for the grocery items you want and Instacart sends a Shopper to fulfill and deliver your order. What makes Instacart different is it doesn’t hold all grocery items like fresh produce in a warehouse. Instead, it sends Shoppers to local grocers or retail chains in your area.
To use Instacart, you need to create a free account. Once your account is live, you can start searching for stores and the items you want to purchase. For example, you select Target from Instacart’s partner stores. You’ll then be able to browse through the available items from Target.
On the page, you’ll see the product prices as well as other relevant information about the products. Click the plus (+) button next to each item so you can start adding products to your cart. Once you’re done selecting items, you can proceed to the checkout page where you can also view the available delivery times for your preferred store so you can choose the delivery schedule that works for you. The checkout page also has a space for delivery instructions if you happen to have specific instructions for your Shopper.
Once you’ve placed an order, an Instacart Shopper will be deployed to fulfill and deliver your order. Similar to other delivery services, you can track your order’s progress and communicate with your Instacart Shopper.
What Are Instacart Shoppers?
Instacart Shoppers are independent contractors or part-time workers who fulfill and deliver Instacart orders.
To become an Instacart Shopper and earn money, you need to sign up for an account at shoppers.instacart.com. After signing up, you need to download the Instacart Shopper app to complete the signup process and start your background check. Once you’re cleared and approved to shop, you can start shopping for clients and earn money.
How much you can potentially earn from being an Instacart Shopper depends on your role type (full-service or in-store shopper) and other factors.
As a full-service shopper or an independent contractor, you get paid for every batch you complete. How much you earn will depend on factors like the number or type of items and driving distance. Full-service shoppers can make at least $5 for delivery-only batches, while full-service batches can get you between $7 and $10. You also get to keep all of the customer tips.
If you’re an in-store Instacart Shopper, you’re a part-time Instacart employee. You earn an hourly wage and work on shifts, which are based on your personal availability. You won’t need to handle deliveries if you're only required to do in-store shopping.
Where Is It Available?
Instacart is available in more than 80,000 areas in the US (50 US states) and Canada. Its platform has over 1,100 retailer partners and is accessible to 85% of US and 80% of Canadian households.
Instacart and Senior Customers
The pandemic has pushed seniors to embrace new technology and services, including online shopping. While most senior citizens may still prefer physical stores over online grocery services, Instacart is still maintaining its customer support for senior citizens who are 60 years old and above.
This aims to help seniors adopt online grocery delivery services and stay safe especially during the cold and flu seasons.
The Senior Support Service has a team of dedicated agents who assist seniors in activities like setting up their Instacart accounts or placing orders. In the first few months since its launch, the program has helped more than 60,000 seniors.
This service is available daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Instacart Key Statistics and Revenue for 2023
- With 10,000 employees, Instacart is one of the largest online grocery delivery services in the US.
- In 2021, Instacart was valued $39 billion, but went down to $24 billion in 2022.
- Instacart has nearly 10 million active users and more than 600,000 Instacart Shoppers.
As previously discussed, Instacart has been around for almost a decade. In recent years, sales have skyrocketed due to the rise in demand for convenient online grocery shopping options. Two years ago, total sales amounted to 26 billion dollars. This number is expected to continue growing, reaching an estimated 45 billion dollars by the end of 2024.
Even with an expected slower pace in the post-pandemic world, Instacart is still projected to maintain steady growth. Instacart has also been expanding into new markets and partnering with more retailers, contributing to its growing bottom line.
There were over eight million downloads of Instacart in 2022, making it the most popular grocery delivery app in the United States. With this large user base, Instacart has been able to tap into new markets and increase its overall revenue.
With Instacart being the most visited grocery website in the United States, it is no surprise that the user base of the app has grown significantly over recent years. In 2022, however, there was a shift in the number of downloads. Less people were downloading the Instacart app, but the app still provides a lot of value to its current users. That is due to the expanded partnership and shift in focus to serving existing customers with more beneficial features and services.
Instacart Ad Sales
The company’s advertising business expects to generate a billion dollars in 2022. By 2023, Instacart is expected to account for over two percent of U.S. digital retail media (marketing in online stores and marketplaces).
According to a report from Bloomberg, while market conditions remain shaky, Instacart slashed its valuation to around $13 billion and avoided a highly anticipated public stock listing. This means that Instacart continues to operate as a private company, and can better manage its financials and position itself for long-term success.
Instacart Emerging Brands
In spite of the easing of social distancing requirements and other regulations, online grocery shopping through Instacart is still on the rise. This is due to a number of reasons, such as the convenience, contactless delivery and user-friendly interface.
Moreover, Instacart’s in-app store has seen an increase in emerging brands. In fact, they have come up with their first list of 75 emerging brands that are added to its platform. In light of this information, we can expect to see Instacart continue its growth and success. These emerging brands, partnered with a loyal customer base that is already accustomed to the convenience of Instacart, will ensure its continued success in the near future.
Instacart: Changing the Way We Shop
Despite easing restrictions, it looks like online grocery shopping and delivery services are here to stay. This is primarily because consumers have seen the immense value and convenience they bring. While the advent of such services may make you think that physical grocery stores will be a thing of the past, the outcome will largely depend on whether these physical stores are able to evolve and adapt to new trends. For now, Instacart and its contemporaries remain a staple figure in millions of Americans’ lives, helping them access essentials and other needs, while giving consumers the opportunity to stay safe at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many products are on Instacart?
Instacart offers 500 million products that are available to shop across its catalog. You can filter retailers by categories, including groceries, alcohol, beauty, pharmacy, and pets.
How much does Instacart cost?
While creating an account on Instacart is free, you need to pay a delivery fee. Same-day delivery for orders over $35 have fees that start at $3.99, while fees vary for services like one-hour deliveries, club store deliveries, and deliveries that don’t meet the $35 standard threshold. Other fees include pickup fees and service fees. Note that the service fee covers various operating costs, including Shopper operations, insurance, and background checks.
If you have an Instacart Express membership, which costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year, you can have orders over $35 delivered for free and pay reduced service fees.
What stores are included in Instacart?
Instacart has 40,000 partner stores, ranging from local grocers to retail chains, in over 5,500 cities in the US and Canada. Stores include Costco, Safeway, Target, Sephora, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, H Mart, Indian Market and Liquor, and La Fromagerie Cheese Shop.
Does Instacart have the same product prices as its in-store counterparts?
Prices may vary on Instacart as it is their retail partners that set the prices on the Instacart marketplace. You can check the pricing policies of each retailer on Instacart’s app or website.
Is Instacart worth it?
The answer ultimately depends on you. If the service is available in your area and you regularly shop at Instacart’s partner shops, then it’s worth a try. However, if you’re an occasional shopper, wary of paying fees, or living in a rural area where Instacart is unavailable, then you might want to reconsider using Instacart.