Amazon to almost double global food and beverage sales within five years

  • Amazon online edible grocery sales will reach US $26.7 billion by 2026 as digital marketplaces and ecommerce to dominate growth in the sector. In 2021, Amazon online edible grocery sales will reach US $14.5 billion by the end of 2021.
  • Globally, the food and beverage sector is forecast to add US $653.6 billion in sales by 2026 to reach $3.6 trillion in chain retail sales.  
  • Edible grocery ecommerce is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5% between 2021 and 2026. Store-based CAGR is expected to be 3.7% over the same period.  
  • Edible grocery ecommerce is expected to account for almost 7% of the chain retail market by 2026, up from 5.1% in 2021.

*Data and forecasts from Edge by Ascential's retail research arm Edge Retail Insight

Press Release

Boston, 07 July 2021: Pureplay online marketplaces are to dominate online growth in the global food and beverage category over the next five years. Amazon and Chinese online retail giants, Alibaba and Pinduoduo will lead sales growth in the category between now and 2026, according to a report on the food and beverage sector by Edge Retail Insight, the market research arm of ecommerce consultancy Edge by Ascential

The Edge Retail Insight Food and Beverage Sector Report, based on forecasts powered by Edge’s proprietary data analytics technology, forecasts online edible grocery sales from Alibaba Group to grow at a CAGR of 10.7% between 2021 and 2026 to reach sales of US $ 34.2 billion in 2026 and remain the largest pureplay online grocer in the world. Amazon’s online edible grocery sales will grow at a 13% CAGR over the same five-year period, helped by recent moves to harmonize its offering under its main dot com properties and app.   

Global CAGR sales growth for the food and beverage category at - Walmart’s ecommerce offering - over the same timeframe will be slightly ahead of Amazon at 14.1% but overall the firm’s online edible grocery sales will remain well behind Amazon in 2026. Global food and beverage sales at will reach US $19.5 billion over the next five years.    

The Food and Beverage Sector Report highlights the latest retailer and supplier initiatives across the food and beverage sector, including alcohol and tobacco, categorized according to the firm’s four strategic pillars: store of the future; ecommerce and digital ecosystem management, supply chain and fulfillment and shopper engagement.

It suggests that the chain retail edible grocery category as a whole will see a CAGR of 4.1% between 2021 and 2026, with lower grocery spend expected as economies open up and people venture back to restaurants and cafes. But most of that growth opportunity will be within the online channel at a CAGR of 10.5%, outpacing bricks and mortar retail growth, expected to be a CAGR of 3.7%.

This trend will result in edible grocery ecommerce increasing its global share of total edible grocery sales from 5.1% in 2021 to 6.9% by 2026.

Deren Baker, CEO at Edge by Ascential, said: “While the food and beverage sector is predicted to see growth, this will be at a much slower rate than the intense demand of 2020. This is as a natural result of easing COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of the hospitality industries. Despite this, the food and beverage category is highly lucrative and the shift towards ecommerce during the pandemic and specifically online grocery shopping, which many people started doing for the first time in 2020,  has seen online marketplaces, such as Amazon and Alibaba take the opportunity to push into the sector, capitalising on their sophisticated last-mile infrastructure and databank to win the loyalty of the stuck-at-home supermarket shopper.

He added: “As ecommerce becomes a more permanent fixture in our grocery shopping behavior, the traditional players need to focus on adapting to consumer needs and priorities in order to compete with the convenience of marketplaces that have refined quick fulfilment strategies and competitive assortments.”

Many legacy supermarket leaders have been rapidly developing their ecommerce propositions, partnering with third-party delivery intermediaries, expanding click and collect services, launching loyalty programmes and boosting front and back end capability to attract and retain new customers in a post-pandemic future.     

Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize is one notable example of a retailer that has accelerated efforts to boost its presence in grocery ecommerce over the past 12 months. It announced plans to buy New York City-based online grocer FreshDirect last November in a cash deal that was completed in January.
Ecommerce will account for 22% of Ahold Delhaize’s total sales by 2026, up from 14% in 2021 – driven by a US $6.4 billion increase in ecommerce edible grocery sales, which represents a CAGR growth of 16.4% between 2021 and 2026. In comparison, Edge Retail Insight analysts forecast Ahold’s store-based channel to grow by a CAGR of just 2.1% between 2021 and 2026.

The report suggests supermarkets and neighborhood stores will remain the largest channel in the edible grocery sector, accounting for 40.3% of chain retail global category sales in 2021, but their share is set to decline to 39.2% in 2026, as other channels such as ecommerce (+10.5% CAGR) and discount (+4.4% CAGR) gain momentum.

Walmart will continue to be the global store-based market leader, with store sales for food and beverage expected to reach US $277.7 billion by 2026, up from US $238.7 billion in 2021.

Baker said: “With online edible grocery CAGR sales growth notably higher than those for store-based sales, consumer goods manufacturers should be planning investment strategies that take advantage of the new operating environment. This includes recognizing marketplace capability to offer personalization at scale, as well as the increasing importance of engaging with delivery intermediaries directly and not just leaving that relationship to the retailers.”



Notes to Editors

  • Food and beverage sector analyzed includes ambient, fresh, chilled and frozen groceries, soft and alcoholic drinks. 
  • All sales figures reported represent net sales.
  • Amazon sales consider only retail. These include online 1st party sales and 3rd party Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and store-based banners, such as Whole Foods.
  • Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) is a standard used to measure the size of a 3rd party marketplace. It is calculated by multiplying the number of products sold by the price at which each product was sold over a given time period.
  •  Retail sales data includes online and offline operations.


All figures come from Edge by Ascential’s Food & Beverage Sector Report, March 2021, available on subscription to the Edge by Ascential Retail Insight platform. The report was created with data from Edge by Ascential proprietary analytics tool Retail Market Monitor, which can analyse the entire retail ecosystem by sector, geography and channel and identifies growth opportunities for retailers and brands.

Edge by Ascential’s forecasts change week-by-week because of the fast-changing developments in the market, particularly at the moment as a result of the pandemic and evolving government messaging around lockdowns, but also because of the fast-paced changes and developments in digital innovation and ecommerce.

For the most up-to-date forecasts in the retail industry and to access the full report please email

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About Edge by Ascential

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