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Online Grocery

Not just an impulse buy? Online snack sales up 34.5 percent year over year

by Arye Zucker - May 16, 2019

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As the food category continues to grow online, it’s no surprise that snacks are consuming larger numbers, too. According to new data from Slice Intelligence, revenue from snacks, chocolate, and candy grew 34.5 percent from January 2017 to January 2018. Looking a little deeper, we see that dried meat snack and nuts & seeds, subcategories of the larger “snacks” category, saw revenue growth of 20.5 percent over the same time period.

New Year’s resolutions fuel sales of diet-centric snack foods

The end of the year always serves as a boon for the New Year’s resolution industry -- think about how many people join a gym around the end of the year -- and we can now add fad diets to the list of categories that see sales spike around the holidays. We see a 77.5 percent revenue spike for foods categorized under the keywords “paleo,” “gluten-free,” and “whole 30” in January 2018 compared with January of 2017, but books categorized under the same keywords saw revenue decrease by 20.7 percent. January 2018 was the month of highest revenue for these foods (27 percent higher than the next highest month) while December 2017 was the largest for books (6 percent higher).

2017 was strong for diet foods* as revenue grew considerably

*Diet foods are foods labeled "paleo", "Whole30", and "gluten-free"

Protein bars, a more conventional diet-based item, also saw a sizeable revenue jump in January 2018. Almost 10 percent of the revenue generated for protein bars in the last 13-months was generated in the first month of 2018. That month also represented a 75.7 percent increase in revenue over the previous month, December 2017. Interestingly, from January to August of 2017, protein bar revenue stayed relatively steady, with a jump in May, but declined noticeably from September through December.

Revenue from protein bar sales skyrocketed after the new year

After a precipitous drop in the second half of 2017

Buyers from New York and DC metro areas empty their wallets to fill their stomachs

Online buyers from the New York metro area spend an average of $95.49 on snacks, more than any other population center in the United States. Washington D.C. and its surrounding areas come in a distant second at $87.90 and Baltimore rounds out the top three with an average spend of $85.56 per buyer. Snackers nationwide spend an average of $78.28 per buyer.

New Yorkers outspend the rest of the U.S. when buying snacks online

Beating the national average by more than 17 dollars

About this data

With a panel of over 5.5 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time, which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.