(NASDAQ:AMZN) is making available to members of its Prime customer loyalty program free, one-hour grocery order pickups at all Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. The retailer said in a company blog post the service will be available for all orders over $35.

Loading up the pantry

Online grocery shopping was already growing rapidly prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but state lockdown orders and capacity limitations on the number of customers allowed in a store following the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated the trend.

Young man delivering a bag of groceries with the delivery van in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Albertsons (NYSE:ACI), the country's second largest pure-play supermarket chain, just reported second-quarter digital sales surged 243% on top of a 271% gain in the first quarter, and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has seen sales double. Amazon itself said online sales tripled in the second quarter.

FMI, the food industry association, says industrywide online food sales quadrupled in the first months of the pandemic, leading 83% of retailers to add more staff to handle the crush of business. It doesn't look like the move toward digital will abate any time soon.

Amazon notes that data from Global Data Research found almost 68% of consumers say they will continue to shop online and use the curbside pickup option even after the pandemic crisis is past. Analysts estimate digital grocery sales will reach $705 billion by 2025.

Amazon also says Prime members can order from Amazon Fresh in over 2,000 cities and receive unlimited free, two-hour delivery on more than 170,000 items on orders of $35 or more.

The retailer says customers who order their groceries online and then check in using the Amazon App before arriving at the store wait just one minute to receive their orders after arriving.

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