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Instacart is the US’s largest online grocery delivery service, with more than 13.7 million active users and over 1,100 retail and grocery partners. The company has seen explosive growth during the Covid-19 pandemic as more people opted for the convenience and safety of ordering groceries from their homes.
But what does the future hold for Instacart? Will it continue to dominate the market, or will it face increasing competition and challenges? And most importantly, how can investors get a piece of this lucrative business?
This article will explore the Instacart stock forecast, looking at the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We will also analyze the company’s financial performance, valuation, and growth prospects.
As of June 2023, Instacart is still a private company, meaning its shares are unavailable to buy or sell on the stock market. However, this could change soon, as Instacart filed confidentially in May 2022 to go public and has been preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) ever since.
Table of Contents
- Instacart’s Business Overview
- Instacart’s Revenue History
- Instacart’s Revenue Forecast
- Instacart’s Future Prospects
- Potential Instacart IPO
Instacart’s Business Overview
Instacart is a pioneering entity in the realm of online grocery delivery services. Since its inception in 2012, the company has dramatically revolutionized how people shop for groceries—offering a platform that connects customers with personal shoppers who pick and deliver items from local stores.
The foundation of Instacart’s business model rests upon the convenience it provides. The user-friendly interface of the Instacart app and website allows customers to select groceries from a wide range of participating local stores.
Once a customer places an order, a network of personal shoppers is alerted. These shoppers then go to the designated stores, pick up the items, and deliver them directly to the customer’s doorstep. The entire process usually takes just a couple of hours, making Instacart a perfect solution for those seeking a fast and reliable grocery delivery service.
Instacart also offers an Instacart Express membership, a premium service for its regular users. For an annual or monthly fee, Express members receive free delivery on orders over $35, reduced service fees, and priority access to delivery slots.
In addition to grocery delivery, Instacart has expanded its services to include delivery from other types of stores, such as pharmacies, liquor stores, and specialty retailers. The platform has also dabbled in partnerships for meal delivery with certain restaurant chains. This constant innovation and diversification have been key in maintaining Instacart’s competitive edge.
The Role of Instacart in the Online Grocery Delivery Industry
As a frontrunner in the space, it has set the standard for what consumers expect from a grocery delivery service: efficiency, convenience, and variety. Its business model of combining technology with a network of personal shoppers has proven to be a game-changer,
In recent years, Instacart’s influence has only grown. It has formed partnerships with hundreds of retailers. The company has shaken up the traditional grocery shopping model, forcing many grocery retailers to reconsider their strategies.
Its platform offers a solution to those looking to establish or expand their online presence. Instacart effectively democratizes access to online grocery shopping, allowing even small, independent grocery stores to offer delivery services.
Instacart is a multifaceted service that has successfully disrupted the traditional grocery shopping model. Its innovative services and major role in the industry position it as a force to be reckoned with in the online grocery delivery industry, and as such, its future performance is a topic of great interest.
Instacart’s Revenue History
Instacart has been one of the fastest-growing companies in the online grocery delivery market, with impressive revenue growth in the past few years. According to estimates from businessofapps, Instacart’s revenue increased from $300 million in 2017 to $2.5 billion in 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 52.8%.
In 2020 alone, Instacart experienced three-fold growth as the Covid-19 pandemic boosted the demand for its services. Some of the factors that have contributed to Instacart’s revenue growth are:
- Expanding Network: Instacart has partnered with many retailers, including major chains such as Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and Target, as well as local and specialty stores. Instacart also operates in thousands of cities across North America.
- Diversification: Instacart has launched new features and products to cater to different customer needs and preferences, such as Instacart Express (a subscription service that offers unlimited free deliveries), Instacart Pickup (a curbside pickup option), Instacart Enterprise (a white-label solution for retailers), Instacart Ads (a platform for brands to advertise their products on Instacart), and Instacart Meals (a prepared food delivery service).
- Technology & Innovation: Instacart has leveraged its data and artificial intelligence capabilities to improve its operations and customer experience, such as optimizing its routing and batching algorithms. And enhance its product catalog and search engine, personalizing its recommendations and promotions, and automating customer support.
- Attracting and retaining shoppers and customers: Instacart has grown its shopper base to over 600,000 as of 2022, offering them flexible work opportunities and incentives. Instacart has also increased customer retention and loyalty by providing fast and reliable delivery, high-quality products, competitive prices, and a user-friendly app.
Instacart’s Revenue Forecast
Several key indicators are pointing towards solid revenue growth for Instacart in the coming years. The online grocery market as a whole is projected to grow significantly. The global online grocery shopping market size was valued at approximately $285.7 billion in 2021.
According to a report from Grand View Research, the online grocery market is expected to grow by a CAGR of 25.3% from 2022 to 2030. Given Instacart’s leadership position within this rapidly growing market, it’s reasonable to expect the company to capture a significant portion of this growth.
According to data from Statista, Instacart’s online grocery sales in the US will reach $40.5 billion by 2024 from $30.6 billion in 2022, representing a CAGR of 15%. This growth would make Instacart the second-largest online grocery retailer in the US, behind Walmart.
The post-pandemic era has left a lasting impact on consumer behaviors, with an increased preference for online shopping and home deliveries. Even as economies reopen, many consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience of online grocery shopping. They are likely to continue using these services.
Challenges for Instacart
However, other factors could influence these projections and pose potential challenges for Instacart. The online grocery delivery space is becoming increasingly competitive. Big players like Amazon, with Amazon Fresh, and Walmart, with Walmart Grocery Delivery, continually invest in their grocery delivery services.
This heightened competition could put pressure on Instacart’s market share and affect future revenue growth. There’s also the matter of growing scrutiny of gig economy companies and their treatment of workers.
Instacart’s prowess in innovation and technology is clearly visible, and the size of the online grocery market is expected to expand. These factors bode well. How the company navigates challenges from competition and regulatory frameworks remains to be seen.
Instacart’s Future Prospects
The company’s future prospects are primarily tied to how well it can seize its opportunities and navigate through potential obstacles. The impact of these factors will be instrumental in shaping Instacart’s revenue growth and valuation.
- Market expansion: Instacart has the potential to expand its market presence within the U.S. and Canada, where online grocery penetration is still low compared to other regions. For instance, online grocery sales accounted for only 9% of total grocery sales in the U.S. in 2021.
The US may be lagging behind in the adoption of online grocery shopping. In contrast, online sales accounted for 34% of total sales in the UK already in 2016. In 2018, online grocery sales accounted for 32.5% of total sales in China.
One report estimates that it is expected to increase to 20% of total grocery sales by 2026. Instacart could leverage its technology platform, logistics network, and retail partnerships to enter new markets and capture more customers as the market expands.
- Possible headwinds: Instacart may face intense competition from other online grocery services, requiring differentiation through superior service and innovation. Regulatory challenges, including food safety, labor rights, and antitrust issues, will require compliance with laws and effective stakeholder engagement to navigate potential lawsuits and complaints.
- Instacart Valuation: The Information recently reported that the company had raised its latest valuation to $12 billion from its previous evaluation of $10 billion in December 2022. This is the first time the company has increased its valuation since the 2021 valuation of $39 billion, which was followed by several cuts.
Potential Instacart IPO
There’s been a lot of speculation over the past months on when the Instacart IPO would take place. As mentioned earlier, the IPO was filed confidentially in May 2021, with the idea of setting the date in 2022.
However, market volatility gave rise to concerns about the appropriateness of the timing. It now seems the IPO is still being delayed. But it probably has more to do with the suitability of the broad market than the revenue and profit growth of Instacart.
When Instacart does go public, the company will be open to more scrutiny and will have to prove its capacity to maintain growth and profitability. Instacart’s IPO has been one of the most anticipated events over the last year. So, it’s possible that its share price would initially benefit from going public.
Whether there is a rally post IPO will depend heavily on the company’s valuation for the share price. And the market sentiment for the company’s future prospects. Like all IPOs, if the market feels the IPO was underpriced, you should see a rally.
While the expanding online grocery market and the shift in consumer behavior towards online shopping signal promising opportunities for Instacart, the company faces significant challenges in the form of fierce competition, regulatory hurdles, and potential changes in the gig economy.
The anticipation surrounding Instacart’s IPO reflects the keen market interest. Yet, the ultimate response will be influenced by the company’s valuation, post-IPO performance, and investor sentiment.
Instacart stands as a compelling investment prospect, given its leadership in a rapidly growing industry. However, its long-term success hinges on its capacity to harness market growth, outmaneuver competitors and effectively address regulatory and operational challenges.
What is Instacart’s primary business model?
Instacart is an online grocery delivery service that connects customers with personal shoppers who pick and deliver items from local stores. Customers place their orders via the Instacart app or website, choosing from a wide range of participating local stores. The orders are then picked up by Instacart’s personal shoppers and delivered directly to the customer’s doorstep.
What are the main factors that could influence Instacart’s future revenue projections?
Several factors could impact Instacart’s future revenues. Key among these are the growth of the online grocery market, competition from other grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh and Walmart, changes in consumer behavior, and potential regulatory changes affecting the gig economy and online retail.
What are some of the key challenges and opportunities Instacart may face in the future?
Instacart’s future prospects present a mix of opportunities and challenges. Opportunities include the continued expansion of the online grocery market, technological innovation, and potential international expansion. On the other hand, the company faces challenges like increasing competition, maintaining a satisfied workforce amid scrutiny of gig economy companies, and adapting to changes in consumer behavior and the regulatory environment.
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