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Why Is Instacart So Expensive In 2023?

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Delivery services like Instacart make grocery shopping much easier for customers.

But savvy shoppers know that Instacart prices are pricier than in-person shopping.

That kind of defeats the purpose of buying groceries conveniently, right?

Why is this the case? Is this a glitch?

Since so many people rely on Instacart’s services, why is it so expensive?

If you want to find out, keep reading for a breakdown of Instacart’s prices and fees for 2023.

Does Instacart Charge More Than the Store?

First things first: does Instacart charge more than your average grocery store?

How much are you spending by using the delivery service?

Instacart doesn’t always charge more than your grocery store.

It partners with certain stores that are exempt from extra fees.

You’re less likely to run into price markups if you shop from one of Instacart’s partnered stores.

You should expect a higher markup for your groceries if you shop from a store not on that list.

Which Stores Are Marked Up on Instacart?

Any store not partnered with Instacart will charge markups when you order from there.

But, some partnered stores with Instacart will still charge markups for their service.

Some stores may be partners with Instacart, but they still up-charge their products.

You can find out more information by looking at store profiles on Instacart’s website.

Does Instacart Mark Up Prices at Costco?

Yes, Instacart marks up prices at Costco by about 20%.

Are Aldi Prices Higher on Instacart?

For most items, yes.

There is about a 17% additional charge for Aldi items.

How Much More Does Instacart Charge?

Instacart doesn’t specify their markup rates because the upcharge varies between stores.

On average, you’re looking at a 15% increase for your groceries through the service.

How Much Does Instacart Cost?

Before anything else, Instacart is a service.

They must pay their drivers, and grocery stores need to cover operational costs.

Your payment to Instacart breaks down into several unexpected extra fees.

So how much does Instacart cost?

1. Instacart Membership

The various fees will change depending on whether you have a membership with Instacart.

The membership costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year, which pays off if you frequently buy groceries.

Your Instacart membership will offset some of the extra fees it adds during checkout.

And for fees you still need to pay, their dollar amount is reduced to something more reasonable.

2. Bag Fee

Various grocery stores charge a small fee for you to put your groceries in plastic bags.

This fee depends on where you order from, but Instacart will charge you this fee if you buy plastic bags.

Instacart lets you choose what kind of shopping bag you want to use.

They will charge you your area’s plastic bag fee, the cost of a reusable bag from the store, or a fee for insulated bags.

3. Heavy Fee

While this is a situational fee, it can start at an extra 5% charge and increase from there.

You only need to worry about this fee if the total weight of your items exceeds 55 pounds.

Asking an employee to carry a heavy load can be inconvenient.

The fee compensates Instacart drivers and covers storage costs for grocery stores.

Why Is Instacart So Expensive?

So, why is Instacart so expensive?

There are a few reasons why, which we’ll explain here.

1. Markups for Operational Costs

Instacart charges extra fees, and some stores charge extra for their products.

Stores like Costco upcharge their products while stores like Aldi charge at random.

The markup size varies from store to store, but these charges are meant to cover operational costs.

These charges include shopping for you, running its online storefronts, and bag fees.

You can check under their logos on Instacart’s storefront if you want to check which stores upcharge, you can find each store’s charging scale there as well.

2. Store Isn’t Partnered With Instacart

The store you are purchasing from may not be partnered with Instacart, resulting in higher prices.

3. Instacart Doesn’t Recognize In-Store Markdowns

Instacart may not honor or recognize in-store markdowns, especially if an item is suddenly marked down for some reason.

4. Instacart Service Fees

Instacart’s service fee is much different from grocery stores’ operational costs.

Instacart charges these fees to cover expenses on their end.

This includes customer support, employee background checks, and payment processing.

Non-members’ service fee is around 5% while Instacart members’ service fee is about 1.9%.

And like most extra fees, they aren’t applied to your cart until checkout.

5. Order During Peak Shopping

If you order during a peak shopping period, expect to pay peak prices.

6. You Aren’t an Express Member

If you aren’t an express member, you won’t get the benefits and discounts provided.

7. Instacart Delivery

Delivery will always be more expensive than picking up in-store.

Instacart charges $3.99 to deliver, but the size of your cart and distance from the store will change things.

If you choose to use Priority delivery, you add more fees to your final total.

8. In-Store Markdowns

One big problem customers have is Instacart’s inability to recognize in-store discounts.

So instead of paying the store’s sale price, you pay Instacart’s standard or markup price.

You can use Instacart’s deals and coupons, but not coupons that you would bring with you to the store.

Unless a store sale is listed on Instacart, you can’t take advantage of store-specific deals.

9. Peak Shopping Hours

Shopping with Instacart tends to be more expensive when you shop during peak hours.

Evening and weekend shopping will increase your Instacart service fee.

You can avoid these extra charges by picking a weekday to have your order delivered.

You can even schedule your delivery for a more convenient time and pay in advance.

What Is the Instacart Pickup Fee?

Instacart allows you to place an order and pick it up at certain stores.

The service will charge you about $1.99 to pick up in-store, but it won’t charge you the service fee for delivery.

Pickup fees are more affordable than paying for several service fees.

But, you still need to pay the fee if you want to pick up your groceries curbside.

Instacart members don’t need to worry about these fees, but the cost of membership is another subject.

What Is the Instacart Delivery Fee?

The Instacart delivery fee will vary depending on your membership type, how soon you want your delivery, and where the delivery is from.

For orders that are over $35, the charge is a $3.99 fee.

How Much Should You Tip Instacart Drivers?

Instacart will automatically prompt you with tip recommendations that you can adjust.

This will factor into how much you spend at the checkout if you decide to pay online.

You should always tip your driver, but you don’t have to cover the tip through Instacart.

You can always tip your driver with cash once you determine how their service was.

Can You Waive Your Instacart Service Fee?

As of 2023, Instacart does not give you the option to waive the service fee.

If you want to avoid paying the fee you will have to call customer service with a complaint.

And that can get pretty cumbersome to do every time you place an order.

Is It Worth It to Pay For Instacart?

There are a lot of fees and markups to keep using Instacart for grocery shopping.

Is it still worth the fees?

Pros of Paying for Instacart

Instacart is easily accessible throughout the United States.

It also offers same-day delivery to most areas.

It delivers most of your big-name grocery chains.

And you can choose from some of your favorite local stores as well.

Instacart makes it easier for people with disabilities to shop without leaving home.

And customizable delivery windows let anyone grocery shop at their convenience.

Cons of Paying for Instacart

The biggest thing against Instacart is the pile of fees you can rack up with one order.

There are a lot of stores that charge more on the service’s storefront than they do in-store.

Not to mention the fact that Instacart doesn’t recognize in-store sales and markdowns.

The only way to decrease the cost of delivery fees is to subscribe to Instacart’s Express membership.

And that in and of itself is a large subscription to add to your list.

Conclusion: Is Instacart Worth It?

Instacart is a useful service that makes shopping convenient for people that need it.

The fees can be a huge deterrent.

But signing up for the service’s membership seriously offsets the costs.

If you can spare the money, Instacart is a good alternative to shopping in person.

It gives you a more convenient way to shop for groceries, despite the fees.

People with disabilities or tight schedules can take care of grocery shopping worry-free.

Wrapping Up

Instacart is more expensive than you expect, and there are several ways you can bypass these fees.

It’s a good alternative to in-person shopping, especially for people with disabilities.

Ultimately, it’s a service meant to make shopping more convenient.

And convenience doesn’t necessarily mean shopping will be more affordable.

Do you still have questions?

Want to tell us about your experience with Instacart?

Feel free to leave a comment below to weigh in.

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