The Increasing Popularity Of Curbside Pickup


Americans are busy people. They're constantly running around between work, family, and social activities. It can be exhausting, and at the end of a long, hard day the last thing many of them want to do is spend an hour cooking dinner or running to the grocery store. Twenty years ago, fast food might have been an alternative option, but the demand for those restaurants is declining. Nowadays the 99 cent hamburger and a large cup of sugary soda is become an infrequent treat as opposed to a stable of someone’s diet. 

People are looking for healthier and tastier options and in return they are being provided with new chains opening left and right focused on fresh. They want food from their favorite restaurants without being forced to dress up and go out again after their days. Grocery shopping isn't something everyone wants to do either. Ask a roomful of parents how they feel about dragging their kids to the store. You are sure to hear some groaning.

Curbside pickup is the perfect solution to those struggles. In 2020, Americans are learning it's a lot safer as well.

Americans Love Convenience 

For years, consumers have been moving toward online shopping. Americans love the convenience of ordering their items and just picking it up at the store or having it delivered to their home. It saves time and headaches. According to an NPR report, grocers across the country are cashing in on this and adding curbside pickup to the services they offer. 

Customers order their groceries online through the store's website or on an app, then they choose a time they want to pick it up. Stores usually have specific parking spaces assigned for curbside pickup and when the customer arrives at the store, an associate loads their groceries into their car. Easy peasy. 

Investment firm Cowen released a report titled "Curbside is a manifestation of Bricks-Meet-Clicks" in 2019 predicting the curbside pickup industry would grow to $35 billion by 2020. Financial analysts with the firm believe 25% of consumers will start using the service. 

The restaurant industry figured this all out years ago. Big chains like Outback and Applebees have offered the service for at least a decade. However, 2020 has seen an explosion for obvious reasons.

When Convenience Meets Safety

Curbside pickup grew exponentially in 2020 as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers still want to eat out and have to buy groceries, and curbside services are there to bridge the safety gap. Even liquor stores are getting in on the action which has also caused some controversy and legal gray area. Now, restaurants are sending mixed cocktails out the door with to-go orders in plastic cups and soup containers, something previously considered illegal. This is causing some disruption in the liquor store market who need to sell sealed drinks only. Over the next serval months this should be getting more legal clarification between states, cities, and counties. 

According to Adobe Analytics, pick-up services at stores saw an 87% increase during the virus outbreak. The services don't just help keep consumers safe and healthy, but also the customers.

There's no doubt that much of the expansion of curbside pickup during the first half of 2020 is due to the virus. Americans worked with stores and restaurants to slow the spread of the virus. But it was going to happen either way. What's different is the speed at which many businesses have had to implement it.  

A Lasting Service

Convenience and safety. There's not much more busy people want. The investment firm Cowen was right about the expansion of curbside pickup, it definitely happened. Being able to order groceries or dinner is a lifesaver for people who are limited on time. And it's not just good for consumers.

Grocers, retailers, and restaurants would do themselves a great disservice by not offering curbside pickup to their customers. Aside from the fact that it was already predicted to be a $35 billion business, the coronavirus will change the way Americans shop for goods and go out to eat. Offering them an easy and safe way to get what they need is the perfect way to expand a customer base and stay profitable.