Walmart vs. Instacart: Which Is Better for Grocery Delivery?
With the increased demand for online grocery shopping, getting grocery deliveries became a routine part of our lives. Many customers use Walmart and Instacart to shop for groceries online and get them delivered to their homes.
Walmart launched a new membership program called “Walmart Plus,” which is an upgrade to its “Delivery Unlimited” service with additional benefits like fuel discounts and faster in-store checkouts using Scan & Go. Walmart Plus members get free unlimited delivery on thousands of items, including groceries.
But which is better for grocery delivery, Walmart or Instacart, and which one should you choose?
If getting low prices on groceries is your priority, you should choose Walmart over Instacart. If flexibility is more important, and you do not want to be limited to only Walmart, you should choose Instacart. Instacart delivers from hundreds of different grocery stores and has broader coverage across the U.S.
In this article, we’ll compare Walmart and Instacart grocery delivery in terms of membership costs, availability, prices, and service quality.
Walmart vs. Instacart: Comparison
You can order groceries from both Walmart and Instacart using the website or by downloading the app. Both apps are available on iOS and Android devices. Creating an account is pretty straightforward by entering your e-mail and delivery address.
Both Walmart and Instacart offer membership programs with free unlimited delivery for orders over $35. Walmart’s membership program is “Walmart Plus” and Instacart’s membership is called “Instacart Express.”
Walmart Plus free unlimited delivery is not available everywhere, though, so you should first confirm if the service is offered at your location.
Unlike Instacart, Walmart offers Walmart+ members additional benefits like fuel discounts and faster in-store checkouts with Scan & Go. Walmart Plus members get fuel discounts up to 5 cents a gallon from over 2000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express gas stations.
Scan & Go allows Walmart Plus members to scan items using their phones in stores and use self-checkout to complete the purchase. It comes in handy when you don’t have time for delivery and need to go to the store to quickly pick up a few items.
I explained Walmart Plus benefits more in detail in a separate article, so check it out if you’re interested in finding out more.
Walmart vs. Instacart: What Are the Membership Costs?
Walmart Plus membership costs $98 annually or $12.95 monthly, whereas Instacart Express costs $99 annually or $9.99 monthly. With both membership programs, customers get free unlimited delivery for grocery orders over $35.
Annual membership costs are almost the same, but keep in mind that Walmart Plus members get fuel discounts up to 5 cents a gallon at participating gas stations. So, depending on how much gas you purchase, Walmart Plus membership may cost substantially lower than Instacart Express.
I want to mention that Instacart allows integration with some store loyalty cards so that you can continue to receive store benefits for Instacart purchases.
For example, if you have a fuel discount through a grocery store, you can get rewards points towards Instacart purchases if you link your store loyalty card to Instacart. I wrote an article on how to link store loyalty cards to Instacart – you should check it out if you’re interested in learning more about it.
If you don’t have a Walmart Plus or Instacart Express membership, or your order is below $35, you’ll have to pay a delivery fee for each order.
Walmart’s delivery fees vary, but you should expect to pay between $7.95 and $9.95 per order. If you order groceries from Walmart at least twice a month, you’ll save money by signing up for the Walmart Plus membership.
Instacart’s standard delivery fee is $3.99, but you pay an additional 5% service fee (min. $2) on the total. There are also additional fees if you order during peak hours. You should expect to pay delivery fees between $3.99 and $7.99 plus the service fee for each order without a membership.
Walmart vs. Instacart: Which Has Better Availability?
When it comes to availability, Instacart is the clear winner. Instacart partners with over 300 national and local grocery chains serving over 85% of households across 50 States. Albertsons, Publix, Kroger, Aldi, Wegmans, and Costco are a few stores that Instacart delivers from.
Walmart grocery delivery is limited to Walmart stores in select locations, so Walmart can’t offer the flexibility that Instacart does by partnering with multiple big grocery chains.
Walmart vs. Instacart: Which Has Lower Prices?
Walmart’s core strategy is to provide customers with an everyday low price on all items, so Walmart is the winner when it comes to price and better deals.
It’s tough for Instacart to match Walmart’s low prices because of the cost associated with the personal shopping service. Think of Instacart as a marketplace, and all grocery stores set their own prices in this marketplace.
Instacart doesn’t upcharge items to customers but instead charges grocery stores a fee for its “personal shopping” service. Some grocery stores absorb this fee and continue to honor in-store prices on Instacart, whereas most stores charge higher than in-store prices to cover Instacart’s service fee.
Although Instacart’s prices are higher than Walmart’s, there are ways to save money on Instacart. I wrote a separate article about it, so if you’re interested in finding out how to save money on Instacart, you should check out that article.
Walmart vs. Instacart: Which Has Better Service?
Both Walmart and Instacart offer same-day delivery for groceries, and if you have a membership, deliveries are free and unlimited for orders over $35.
I order from Instacart regularly, and I’m quite happy with the service. There have been times when an item was missing from the order, and Instacart customer service credited my account for the next purchase after I reported the issue.
Both Walmart and Instacart apps are easy to navigate, and the checkout is straightforward. You can select replacements if the item you ordered is out of stock. Walmart offers an equivalent or better item at a lower price if there’s a replacement available.
Curbside pickup is also an option for both Walmart and Instacart. Walmart offers free curbside pickup for grocery orders over $30. It’s a great option if you don’t have the Walmart Plus membership and don’t want to pay the delivery fee.
Overall, both Walmart and Instacart offer a great delivery experience with good customer support and have easy to use apps that allow you to order groceries on the go.
In this article, we compared Walmart and Instacart in terms of costs, availability, prices, and service quality to determine which one is better for grocery delivery.
We covered that annual membership costs for Walmart Plus and Instacart Express are almost the same ($98 vs. $99), and both memberships offer free unlimited delivery. However, Walmart Plus membership comes with additional benefits like fuel discounts and faster in-store checkouts.
Walmart Plus members get fuel discounts up to 5 cents a gallon at participating gas stations, which lowers the overall Walmart Plus membership cost.
In terms of availability, Instacart is the clear winner. And in terms of low prices, it’s hands down Walmart. Both provide a great delivery experience, have good customer support, and easy to use apps that make grocery shopping fun.
The decision between Walmart and Instacart comes down to the availability and your priority between flexibility and price. If both options are available in your area and getting low prices is more important than flexibility, you should go with Walmart.
If flexibility is more important than price and you don’t want to be limited to only Walmart, you should go with Instacart. Instacart delivers from hundreds of grocery stores across the U.S. You can visit the website to find out which stores they partner with in your area.
If you’re interested in finding more about online grocery shopping, check out the related articles below: