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Walmart partners with Instacart on same-day grocery delivery

Delivery battle in Canada heats up as major players continue to expand their services

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Walmart Canada has introduced same-day grocery delivery in parts of the Greater Toronto Area and Winnipeg through a partnership with Instacart.

The service was launched in Toronto on Thursday and will be available in Winnipeg on Sept. 27.

Customers can place their order via the Instacart app or by visiting Instacart.ca. Once the shopping list is submitted, Instacart’s personal shoppers pick and pack the order which can then be delivered to the customer in as little as one hour.

The deal with Instacart moves Walmart further along the unmistakeable industry trend line of making it easier for Canadians to shop for groceries online. Walmart had previously offered next-day delivery in parts of the GTA via two local delivery services. In Winnipeg, delivery wasn’t an option for Walmart shoppers, but Walmart’s click-and-collect service was available.

“Canadian families are busy, and saving time is as important as saving money,” said Lee Tappenden, president and CEO, Walmart Canada, in a release. “By teaming up with Instacart, we’re providing our customers with express home delivery of fresh, quality groceries at Walmart’s low prices every day in as little as an hour.”

Meanwhile, other major players have accelerated efforts to expand their online shopping offerings, particularly after online retail colossus Amazon bought Whole Foods in June 2017. Earlier this year, Metro started rolling out delivery in Quebec and plans to expand it to Ontario in 2019. Sobeys has partnered with British online grocery giants Ocado to build its delivery business starting in Toronto by 2020. Loblaw also signed on with Instacart late last year to introduce delivery in Vancouver and Toronto and plans to expand it in other markets.

Overall, online still represents a small fraction of total grocery sales in Canada and activity trails other countries. Some estimates put it at $2 billion rising to about $3.6 billion by next year, from a total retail food market of $100 billion.

But in a survey released in April, Vancouver market research firm NRG found 28% of Canadians say they shop for groceries online and 6% saying online was their “main method” of grocery shopping. Eighteen months ago, just 15% of respondents had bought groceries online. Another 27% of respondents who haven’t shopped for groceries online said they were willing to do so soon.

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