Instacart’s Growth Stalling

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YoY chart in footnote. Historical numbers could vary slightly due to methodology updates. Visits based on mobile foot traffic data. GMV based on transaction data.

An analysis of Earnest Research data by Emory professor Dan McCarthy noted that GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) growth on Instacart is slowing faster than other convenience economy brands after peaking in April 2020. Earnest Research data in the report highlights that newly acquired Instacart customers are becoming less active over time—in contrast to restaurant delivery platforms such as DoorDash. The findings suggest that consumers’ switch to online grocery shopping may not have the staying power of other Covid-19 shifts.

Another culprit is perhaps the gradual return to stores. Foot traffic data shows that visits to grocery stores on a Yo2Y basis, while still below pre-pandemic levels, began to recover during the summer.

At the same time, Instacart’s growth, while indeed still above pre-COVID levels, has effectively stalled over the past several months. It remains to be seen whether Instacart’s GMV has now reached its “new normal” as visits to grocers continue to inch their way up to a possible full pre-COVID recovery.


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