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4 trends that have the potential to shape grocery in 2024

As retail media evolves, ad placements off-site and in-store will help grocery advertisers reach shoppers in new and more engaging ways, but consumers may not be in a spending mood as credit card balances grow and savings accounts shrink. If Amazon can get grocery right, it may be able to fight off losing share to Walmart. But if the Kroger-Albertsons merger goes through, it could change everything.

1. The sure thing: Retail media goes off-site and in-store

Retail media ad spend will be just shy of $60 billion next year, growing 28.6%, per our forecast. While the majority of spend (81.5%) will still be on-site, a growing amount of spend is moving off-site ($11.04 billion) and in-store ($370 million).

As advertisers seek more engaging ad formats, retail media networks will continue to expand into connected TV (CTV) and in-store media formats like radio or digital screens placed throughout the store. Some networks have already begun experimenting with these types of formats.

Consumers will also notice more shoppable ads from grocery brands, specifically on CTV and social platforms.

2. The refresh: Amazon grapples with grocery

Amazon spent a great deal of 2023 trying to refine its grocery strategy, which we expect to continue into 2024.

If Amazon succeeds in this revamp, it could position itself better against grocery giant Walmart.

  • In 2023, we forecast Amazon’s grocery ecommerce sales will reach $36.41 billion, compared with Walmart Inc.’s $49.32 billion.
  • Amazon’s share of total grocery ecommerce sales is declining, going from 23.5% in 2020 to 18.5% in 2024, per our forecast. Meanwhile, Walmart’s share is back on the rise after dipping a bit in 2021 and 2022, projected to hit 26.9% of total grocery ecommerce sales in 2024.
  • Though it doesn’t seem likely that Amazon will catch up to Walmart, a renewed grocery strategy may reverse the trend and help Amazon keep some of its grocery share rather than losing it.

3. The wait-and-see: Consumer spending patterns remain murky

Despite inflation cooling, it’s unclear if consumers will spend more in 2024, or if they’ll buckle down even tighter.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said to CNBC that high credit card balances and shrinking bank accounts may have consumers spending less, which would further impact grocers’ bottom lines.

But a bright spot among the unknown may be private label items.

  • Nearly all (96%) grocery shoppers currently purchase private label products at least occasionally, per FMI The Food Industry Association.
  • 37% of consumers do this to save money, per Numerator, but store brand quality and taste are also drawing consumers in.
  • Target’s Good & Gather generated over $3 billion in sales in 2022, according to Erica Thein, vice president of food and beverage owned brands at Target, leading the retailer to expand its private label food and beverage products, per Store Brands.

4. The potential game changer: The Kroger-Albertsons merger

It’s been over a year since The Kroger Co. and Albertsons Companies announced plans to merge, but the Federal Trade Commission has yet to approve the deal. But, according to Kroger, it has met all the antitrust law requirements for the merger, per Supermarket News, which means the merger could be closer than ever to proceeding.

  • If approved, there would be massive retail media implications, with a reach of over 85 million households, per Supermarket News.
  • It would also create a physical footprint that would rival Walmart, even if Kroger and Albertsons sell the 413 locations they said they would to help the deal go through.

The combined company would also have an incredible amount of first-party customer data, which would be quite an incentive for advertisers who wanted to better target and measure their retail media campaigns.

 

This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.