Research

Grocers invest in cashierless technology and expand physical footprint

JLL says cashierless check out, e-commerce, and digital integrations drive grocery stores to expand

March 31, 2022

Sarah Kern

Retail and Industrial PR
+1 312 228 3058

CHICAGO, March 31, 2022 – Grocery retailers were among the biggest winners of the pandemic, with total grocery sales reaching $803 billion in 2021, according to JLL’s Grocery Tracker 2022 report. As an essential business that played a critical role in ensuring food supply during a time of great uncertainty, the grocery industry grew by 9.4 percent in 2020, representing a nearly 16 percent increase over pre-pandemic levels, according to JLL’s report.

“Most U.S. grocers capitalized on these gains by reinvesting into their businesses and are in growth mode. During the pandemic consumers adopted the e-commerce grocery option, but now with widespread vaccine distribution influencing a renewed comfort surrounding in-store shopping, grocers will need to enhance their fulfillment operations and in-store technology to stay in the battle of the fast-growing grocery industry,” said James Cook, Director of Research, JLL.

Aldi was the most active grocer in 2019 and 2020, and its aggressive expansion activity ensured this past year was no different. The German grocery retailer announced plans to open about 150 new stores by the end of 2022, making them the third-largest grocery retailer in the U.S. by store count, right after Kroger and Walmart.

2021 Top 10 Grocers


According to JLL’s report, technological advancements in retail used to serve as crucial differentiators, providing retailers the chance to set themselves apart from their competitors. Nowadays, these advents are a necessary measure for any retailer that aims to stay competitive. The cashierless experience gained popularity among many grocers in 2021 when the “Just Walk Out” technology was brought to Amazon Fresh stores, who has since announced it will be bringing this technology to two Whole Foods locations in Washington, D.C. and Sherman Oaks, California.

In the U.K., several grocers have recently launched competing ‘walk out” stores. According to JLL research, Lidl debuted “Lidl Go” in its London stores; Tesco soon followed at their GetGo location in central London, like Amazon, shoppers must download the Tesco app and scan the QR code upon entry; and Aldi opened their first cashierless store in Greenwich London earlier this year.

“The grocery sector in the year ahead will be one to watch as we expect increased competition from foreign grocery chains and restaurants, which will spur many grocers to invest in major in-store technology advancements,” said Naveen Jaggi, President of Retail Advisory Services, JLL. “Grocery stores will be changing the way consumers shop and interact with products.”


About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $19.4 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 98,000 as of December 31, 2021. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.