March 18, 2014

AmazonFresh versus Safeway Home Grocery Delivery

Amazon has home grocery delivery called Amazon Fresh in a few limited markets.  Currently they only seem to serve Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.   Safeway also has home delivery in some markets.   Safeway currently serves some areas of 6 states and D.C.    I happen to live in one of the cities that Safeway serves with home delivery and I think thats the only home grocery delivery option around here.   I figure eventually Amazon will probably expand to other markets, though thats not a given.

Delivery Costs :

Amazon delivery charges range from free to $9.99.    Orders under $50 are $9.99 for delivery.   So of course you'd want to order $50 or more to avoid that.    For $100 or more you can get free delivery.   Between $50 and $100 its free if you're in their 'Big Radish' program or $7.99 if you are not.   I found one reference saying that the Big Radish program was for customers in Seattle who buy $400 or more per month.  Though that could change and may depend on the market.   Theres also a Amazon Fresh Prime program in San Francisco at least that cost $299  and gives free delivery for orders over $35.   You can probably get free delivery via the Big Radish program if you spend over $50 per order, so I'm going to assume that.  However you'd have to pay for several orders before you accumulate enough spending to qualify for Big Radish.  So the Amazon delivery charge is not as straight forward.   I'm going to assume that you buy $50 to $100 and are not in the Big Radish program.   That would mean a delivery charge of $7.99

Safeway has charges ranging from $3.95 to $12.95 depending on when you want delivery and if you buy over $150 or not.    Orders under $150 start at $12.95 and orders over $150 are $9.95.    If you chose a 2 hour delivery window then you save $3 and if you chose a 4 hour window then you can save $6.   I'll assume an order under $150 and pick the 4 hour window for a delivery cost of $6.95

Grocery Costs:

I decided to compare a basket of some typical grocery items.    I chose a list of typical items that I think many households buy like a gallon of milk, loaf of bread, some bananas, etc.  

Here is my shopping list comparison :

Amazon Safeway
gallon milk $3.89 $3.89
orowheat bread $4.39 $2.50
12 AA eggs $2.84 $2.69
1lb burger $4.29 $5.19
2x apple, fiji $1.98 $2.20
5x banana $1.99 $1.62
Folgers 33.9oz $9.89 $6.88
Brawny 8 pack $7.39 $10
Cheerios 18oz $4.29 $4.69
12 pack Coke zero $5.49 $6.59
mustard $1.49 $2.59
Oreos $3.79 $3.99

$51.72 $52.83
delivery $7.99 $6.95
TOTAL $59.71 $59.78

For the Brawny paper towels they only carry 8 packs at Amazon and 12 or 6 packs at Safeway.  I cheated a little by figuring the cost per item at Safeway and then multiplying that by 8.

The actual grocery cost is pretty close.    The Safeway total was $1.11 more but thats only ~2% more.   For a single sample of items in a given day thats not much difference.   Your totals will vary of course based on what happens to be on sale so theres likely some ups and down where Safeway might be cheaper or Amazon might be cheaper in a given week.   But given this single experiment it seems to me that the prices are pretty much as wash overall.

Now of course this is a pretty arbitrary list and if you don't eat these items then your results will vary.

If you spend enough to get free delivery out of Amazon then that might make them a winner overall.   You can get delivery as cheap as $3.95 at Safeway if you spend over $150 an order but there isn't a given option for free delivery.  Safeway does have promotions that can get you free delivery but you have to buy specific items off of a promotional list and I wouldn't assume you'd want those items.

Bottom Line;   The grocery costs seem pretty similar and for a lot of people the delivery charges are close as well.   Amazon may win if you can qualify for free delivery.   Otherwise I'd call it a wash.


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