Convenience Will Cost You! :: A Price Comparison of Costco Grocery Delivery

Anyone who knows me, knows I love all things Costco. When we became a family of 5 three years ago, we started doing our weekly grocery shopping exclusively shopping at Costco. Most weeks you will find me at the big rolling doors promptly when they open at 9:30 on Saturday (usually with three kids in tow). And as much as I enjoy strolling around that place while letting the kids go “sampling,” the thought of outsourcing this weekly ritual has crossed my mind more than once. So imagine my delight when Instacart announced they were finally coming to New Orleans and were partnering with Costco for home delivery service! I mean what more could I ask for?! I downloaded the app, logged in, and started preparing my weekly cart.

A few hours later, I received an email from Costco announcing free same day delivery. I clicked the link to discover they were offering free same day delivery “powered by Instacart” if you shopped via the website. But as I was clicking away on their website, I noticed a tagline at the top which read “Prices are higher than your local warehouse and include service and delivery.” So before I plunged right in, I decided it would be best to get a sense of how much higher.
I took this weeks shopping trip to do my research, and below you will find a comparison of the items I bought via the three different shopping methods (in person, Instacart app,
Costco in Store Instacart Costco Delivery via
Strawberries $3.99 $5.49 $5.60
Blueberries $6.99 $8.59 $8.69
Blackberries $4.99 $6.09 $6.19
Ceaser Salad Kit (qty 2) $6.98 $8.58 $8.78
Whole Organic Milk $10.99 $13.49 $13.69
Kirkland Free Range Eggs $6.49 $7.99 $8.09
Kirkland Hotdogs $12.99 $15.89 $16.19
Hillshire Farm Honey Ham $9.69 $11.89 $12.09
CapriSun $6.99 $8.59 $8.69
Ginger ale $6.99 $8.59 $8.69
La croix (qty 3) $23.97 $29.37 $29.97
Organic Strawberry Spread $6.99 $8.59 $8.69
Kirkland Peanut Better $9.99 $12.19 $12.39
Palmolive (on sale) $5.59 $7.39 $7.59
Kirkland Fabric Softener $7.99 $9.79 $9.99
Kirkland Free and Clear Detergent $13.99 $17.09 $17.39
Dove Conditioner $8.99 $10.99 $11.19
Nuetragena Makeup Remover Wipes $14.99 $18.29 $18.59
Subtotal (before taxes) $169.59 $208.89 $212.50
Mark up ($) $39.30 $42.91
Mark up (%) 23.17% 25.30%
I was surprised to see such a large mark-up, and even more surprised that the unit prices on were higher than what I found in the Instacart app. In using Instacart, I also noticed they tried to tack on a service fee of $20.89 (10%) during check out. However, you can hit the edit button and move this item “Waive ($0).” Instacart also waived the $5.99 delivery fee as it recognized me as a Costco member. With these two items added back in, the Instacart total would have been $235.77 (~40% markup vs in store). On average, I spend roughly $200 per week at Costco which translates to $10,400 annually. If I shopped exclusively through Instacart, this convince would cost me roughly $2,400 (assuming a consistent 23% mark up).

Sadly, after seeing the numbers, I don’t think I will be outsourcing the weekly grocery shopping to Instacart. However, it is good to know that in a pinch they can always bail me out.

About Lindsay

Lindsay is a wife and mother to three girls, ages 7, 5 and 3. When she’s not working, she enjoys watching her kids play sports and swim in the pool.


  1. Glad I’m not the only one frustrated with this. I know they’re probably trying to make up for the impulse purchases they will lose out on, but they’re missing the entire point of being a Costco member: wholesale prices!

    They should leave the markups for customers who order directly from Instacart without a membership and give loyal customers who have forked out for a membership the actual store prices when ordering directly from the Costco website.

  2. Thanks for writing this!! I think I may use it more during school year when time to go is limited… but not worth it yet! ?

  3. Thank you for the tid bid of info
    Thank you for the tid bid of information! I had no idea as a member I had the option of not paying the service fee!


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