Correction: This article has been updated to reflect Steve Matthesen's accurate title, president and CEO of Acosta.
- In a report comparing Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com and Jet.com, market research firm Field Agent found Walmart is the most preferred online retailer for buying fresh foods, according to Progressive Grocer. Twenty-five percent of Walmart.com shoppers buy fresh foods from the site, compared to Target.com (10%), Jet.com (8%) and Amazon.com (5%).
- Jet.com is the most preferred e-tailer for packaged groceries. Forty-four percent of Jet.com shoppers buy packaged goods, compared with 30%, 25% and 18% buying from Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Target.com, respectively.
- “With Walmart.com, shoppers enjoy the convenience of online shopping alongside the fresh appeal and immediate gratification of brick-and-mortar retrieval. So, while in shoppers’ minds, Amazon currently excels Walmart.com in many categories, Walmart’s advantage in the fresh grocery space feels like a strategy to really build on," Field Agent marketing manager Chris Medenwald told Progressive Grocer.
In the frenzy of speculation that has followed the Amazon-Whole Foods merger, many analysts have described the online giant as an immediate threat to the grocery industry. And while the e-commerce company is poised to disrupt the space now that it has online distribution dominance and a swath of brick-and-mortar stores under its belt, it has a ways to go in the grocery world.
"Other grocers, including Mackey himself, would tell other people that Amazon couldn’t win at grocery because they didn’t have the brick and mortar stores to compete. You needed to have omnichannel, not just online, to really make that work. Well, now they have both," Steve Matthesen, president and CEO of Acosta, told Food Dive in a recent interview. "This doesn’t mean they’re going to be successful automatically."
Matthesen also said even though the stock market makes it seem as though "Amazon has already won" grocery, it still has a lot of work to do to come out on top. As this report shows, Walmart is likely Amazon's biggest rival in the online grocery. Grocery still remains deeply rooted in brick-and-mortar, giving the mega-retailer a huge advantage it can pass on to its online platform through "store tie-in" services like free in-store pickup, curbside pickup and store-to-store discounts. E-tailers with few store locations have to fight harder to make inroads.
The success of Jet.com — which is now owned by Walmart — in the packaged grocery and household consumables space also gives the discounter a leg up over Amazon. Walmart has the infrastructure to dominate fresh grocery, and Jet.com supplements this with its reputation for quality shelf-stable products.
"Walmart’s move with Jet took out one of the clearest alternatives to Amazon," Matthesen said of the partnership.
It will be interesting to see how Amazon and other e-commerce rivals like Target.com try to up their grocery game going forward, and if Walmart will continue to keep one step ahead as competition intensifies. One thing's for sure, Amazon will be gaining the retail stores that are part of the Whole Foods umbrella, giving it a chance to take advantage of many of the same synergies in fresh items that Walmart has with its brick-and-mortar locations and online operations. It promises to be an interesting time in the food space going forward as competition intensifies — a move that will likely leave the consumer as the winner through more choice and lower prices.