Online grocery deliveries are a booming industry in the U.S. and now in central Illinois.
Grocery stores have offered online shopping and delivery services for years now. But recently separate companies have begun offering the same service using the stores.
Vendors such as Freshop, Ocado, Grub, and Grubhub are making inroads. Some investment firms are projecting 79 percent growth in the total U.S. food home delivery market over the next five years. Projections suggest online grocery delivery will rise from $43 billion this year to $76 billion in 2022.
There is a new player in Bloomington-Normal, too. Instacart just began service in the Twin Cities and in Peoria last week offering same-day delivery.
Victor Siavachay, an area manager for Instacart, said his company alone has doubled the number of cities it serves in the last year to 50. Siavichay said Instacart is hoping to offer the option to 80 percent of American homes by next year and says it's a real possibility.
"Less than 2 percent of Americans have used online grocery delivery," said Savachay.
Analysts say online delivery use is booming not just for millennials, but for the 35-to-44 age group.
"It's a chore. It's a two-hour chore to get in the car, if you have kids, get the kids in the car go to the store, wait in lines. What we are giving people is their time back," said Savachay.
Instacart is now delivering groceries, booze, and drugstore products in Bloomington-Normal and Peoria through agreements with Schnucks, CVS, and Binny's.
Major stores within malls have been affected by online retail and even forced to close due to the pressure of online shopping. Siavichay said grocery stores will also be impacted.
"I don't think the grocery stores will go extinct. They will still be around. But there is no question that things are going to change. And the way that you walk into a grocery store and look around, that's going to change five years from now," said Savachay.
He said the way people shop will be more digital in the next five years even within stores. He said Instacart is trying stay ahead of the curve. Another sign of the growth of the delivery business is that online giant Amazon recently purchased the Whole Foods grocery chain.
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