- May 6, 2020

Grocery is Top Mobile Spending Category for First Time

As consumers continue to make lifestyle changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new data from Comscore has shown how significant the increased reliance on online grocery has been. While the subcategory has been an area of growth each quarter over the past year (especially on mobile), the past two months have pushed that growth into overdrive and pushed online grocery to the top spending subcategory on mobile.

From a visitation perspective, Comscore has seen total digital visits to the grocery subcategory increase significantly since the pandemic began in the U.S. As we saw in our recent survey results, many consumers say they have been purchasing more groceries than normal due to the pandemic. Consumers who wanted to stock up on groceries, without wanting to risk exposure while making a trip to their local store, have likely been a driving force for this significant increase. Visits to this subcategory spiked during the week of March 30, 2020, as many states extended their shelter-in-place directives for another month.


The increase in visitation was a strong indication that we would see a higher-than-usual spending figure in this quarter, and the actual commerce data aligned with that expectation.

In Q1 2020, total mobile spending on the grocery subcategory increased an incredible +148% versus Q1 2019, to a total of $10.2 billion. This metric really speaks to the significance of the shift in spending that we saw in Q1 2020. Particularly in March, consumers leaned on mobile options to order groceries to a degree never seen before.


Comscore has been tracking online retail spending since 2008 and mobile commerce specifically since 2013. Apparel and Accessories has consistently been the top grossing category in total mobile spending every quarter. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Q1 2020 was the first quarter in which any category had a higher total mobile share than Apparel and Accessories. Q1 2020 showed grocery spending, which also includes baby supplies and pet supplies, reaching 20% share of all mobile spending. Previously, the highest grossing quarter for the subcategory was Q4 2019 ($7.3 billion), and mobile spending on grocery grew +39% in Q1 2020 versus Q4 2019. While Apparel and Accessories still slotted in as the second-highest category in Q1 2020, it is clear that this quarter, amid the pandemic, groceries and supplies were a clear priority for consumers.

Follow our Coronavirus Hub for more details on our ongoing data analysis of the virus pandemic. Comscore’s definition of mobile retail commerce spending includes both smartphone and tablet purchases. Spending data featured here are sourced from Comscore’s digital commerce solutions. This measurement covers 20 categories of retail purchases, across both desktop and mobile. For more details, contact us.

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