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Buying Groceries Online? Walmart Has the Most Popular App for That

By Rich Smith – Apr 9, 2020 at 3:19PM

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Amazon is a close second.

The advent of COVID-19, with its stay-at-home orders keeping workers from eating out and its social distancing recommendations making them leery of running to the grocery store, is jump-starting the online grocery shopping business.

Some retailers are struggling to adjust to the sea change, with Amazon.com (AMZN -3.01%) apparently overwhelmed by the sudden popularity of its Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods online ordering services, and unable to keep up with demand. Still, analysts forecast that as much as $20 billion in online grocery business could be up for grabs for the companies that manage to figure this out.

Bag full of groceries sitting on a laptop keyboard

Image source: Getty Images.

Walmart (WMT -2.50%) could be the biggest beneficiary.

According to a report just out from App Annie, the self-described "leading global provider of mobile market data," the Walmart Grocery app is now the No. 1 most downloaded app for ordering groceries online.  

From March 29 to April 4, 2020, reports the analyst, consumers downloaded 106 million shopping apps, up 15% from the equivalent period in January 2020, before the coronavirus appeared on the scene.

Of those downloads, 14.4 million happened in the U.S. (up 20% from January), and Walmart Grocery downloads in particular shot up 460%. Downloads of the [email protected] app, used by in-store workers, were also up significantly -- 220%.

In contrast, Amazon's shopping app, the second most downloaded shopping app which began the period with "an incredibly high existing install base," lagged Walmart's pace of downloads by 20 percentage points.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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