How to buy Instacart shares

The US grocery app Instacart is going to hold its IPO in 2021. Get all the key details you need to know right here, including why you can’t invest just yet.
By: James Knight
James Knight
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed,… read more.
Updated: May 18, 2021
Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

Until Instacart’s IPO, it’s a private company that you can’t own any shares in. But that IPO is coming soon, within the next couple of months, and you want to be ready as soon as it happens. Use this beginner’s guide to learn more about what to expect.

Instacart IPO

Instacart is going to go public in the first half of 2021. It’s going to hold an IPO, or initial public offering, and start selling shares that you can buy straight away.

An IPO is a way for companies to raise money. They create shares to sell to the public that hands over some control of how the business is run in exchange for a big influx of funds to run their operations.

There aren’t too many details about the IPO in the public domain just yet, but we’ve pooled together everything we do know right here. All the answers to your key questions are below and you can bookmark this page to stay up to date as soon as anything changes.

When is the IPO?

It’s expected to be in Q2 of 2021, perhaps in April or May. Instacart did raise a lot of money privately early in 2021 that means it isn’t desperate for cash.

Can I pre-order Instacart shares?

No, not yet. Some companies offer private investors access to a small number of shares pre-IPO but otherwise the only people who get the chance to buy beforehand are big institutions. When Instacart announces firmer details about its IPO it may include something about this.

Where can I do this?

The best thing to do is sign up for a broker and make sure you’re ready for when trading starts. IPOs can come together quickly once companies decide to do it and you probably won’t get much advanced warning.

Compare the best Instacart trading platforms

The brokers below are some of the best platforms around. They will all offer Instacart shares as soon as they go live and some may let you pre-order. You should sign up in advance and make sure your account is funded and verified ahead of opening day.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Exclusive promotion
user-score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
user-score
9.3
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums
Registered with and regulated by SEC and FINRA
Loss of cash protection
Start Trading
Description:
Financial company driven by technology and offering all-in-one self-directed investment platform that provides excellent user experience.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

How to buy Instacart stocks, a step-by-step guide

Follow this guide for a simple, straightforward way to invest in the stock market for the first time. Even if you’ve never done it before, don’t worry, as it’s not a complicated process.

  1. Choose a broker. The first thing you need to find is an online broker platform. There are many different options to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. The comparison table above can help you select the right broker for you, and you can head to our comprehensive broker reviews if you’re still unsure.
  2. Create an account. Once you’ve selected your broker, simply go to their website and create an account. The steps required for this will vary from platform to platform, but generally you can expect to have to provide your name, email address, phone number, and some form of photo identification.
  3. Deposit funds. Log into your broker account and select the option to deposit funds. Depending on your broker you’ll have a variety of payment options available; most brokers accept bank transfers and debit card payments, but not all accept e-wallets such as PayPal. Select your preferred payment method and deposit the amount of money you wish to invest in Instacart shares.
  4. Place an order for Instacart stock. Search for Instacart’s ticker symbol (Instacart) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the amount of shares you wish to own and place your order.
  5. Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your Instacart shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in Instacart!

What is Instacart? And should I invest?

Instacart is an online grocery delivery service that lets customers do their food shopping on an app. It connects the buyer with ‘shoppers’, contractors who go into participating retailers and do the shopping for you.

It was formed in 2012 as a way of helping independent grocery stores compete by giving them access to an online service, as companies like Deliveroo and Just Eat have done for restaurants. Now, it’s partnered with much larger retailers as well, like Aldi and Walmart.

Investing in Instacart now means taking on some risk in the hope of rewards later. It’s barely made a profit yet, but operates in the largest market in the world. In the US alone, grocery shopping is a $1.4tn industry that is still predominantly offline. The more money spent online, the better for Instacart – if it can hold off the competition.

How has the company performed in recent years?

There’s no share price data yet but as a private company it’s the pandemic that really accelerated Instacart’s growth. In early funding rounds in 2018, the company was valued at $7bn. By the time the pandemic had caused its customer base to increase by as much as 400%, the valuation stood at $40bn.

Over that time it’s established a solid share of the online market in the US. It’s battling Walmart for supremacy and owns more than half of all grocery shopping done using apps. It turned a profit for the very first time in April 2020, the first full month affected by COVID-19.

Is it a good time to buy Instacart shares now?

The early stages of an IPO can be volatile and you have to be willing to accept the risk of buying right at the start. There’s potential upside, both from the share price ‘popping’ as soon as it lists and from Instacart capturing a large part of the market, but nothing’s guaranteed.

Long term, there are some challenges to think about. Is online grocery shopping going to keep increasing once people are no longer forced to stay at home? Can Instacart compete if big retailers lean into online shopping? Its partnership with Walmart is only a trial while Amazon has started making moves into the space as well.

Another question mark is regulation. Like many companies in the gig economy, Instacart might be forced to treat their ‘contractors’ more like permanent employees. That would increase its costs and make it even harder to turn a regular profit. Use our market analysis to follow the latest news on that front:

Apple shares have weakened from their recent highs above $140, and the current price stands around $128. Apple reported better than expected second-quarter results last week, and the company increased the quarterly dividend by 7.3%. Fundamental analysis: Morgan Stanley raised its target on Apple from $158 to $161 Apple shares…
Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) shares have weakened from their recent highs despite better than expected first-quarter results. The U.S. stock market is losing some ground this Tuesday, which also negatively influences Under Armour shares. Fundamental analysis: Under Armour shares are not undervalued Under Armour is an American sports equipment…
McDonald’s shares advanced after the company reported better than expected first-quarter results and closed the week at $236,08. Fundamental analysis: UBS raised its price target from $240 to $255 Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, this company’s business is going well, and McDonald’s reported better than expected first-quarter results last week.

Buying, selling and trading Instacart shares for beginners

What to do before buying shares

You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing your money, especially if you haven’t bought shares before. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of making a wise investment. 

With that in mind, here’s a checklist to run through before you start.

  1. Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company. What is Instacart? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is Instacart’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about it, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
  2. Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before getting involved in the stock market, make sure you have an understanding of how it works. This will ensure that you have more clearly defined goals and have thought through how you will achieve them.
  3. Decide between share dealing and CFD trading. Choose the type of investment strategy you want to pursue, and make sure you have carried out the necessary fundamental or technical analysis for share dealing and CFD trading respectively.
  4. Set the size of your budget. The golden rule of investing is never to risk more than you can afford to lose. Not every investment you make will result in a profit, so it is important to set a budget that not only allows good potential for capital growth, but also protects against overly damaging losses.
  5. Find the right broker. Individual brokers each have their own pros and cons. Some have low fees but have a user interface you struggle to understand, whereas others may be a bit more expensive but come with a range of features that you want to take advantage of. We’ve thoroughly analysed all the best platforms to help you make a decision..
  6. Examine broader market conditions. No stock exists in a vacuum, and it’s always important to analyse the general trends of the stock market as a whole before investing. If a bear market is setting in and stock prices are falling, it’s best to wait it out and invest your money later when the stock is cheaper. If, however, the market is looking bullish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices.

What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?

If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of how to buy, sell, and trade Instacart shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.

Buying Instacart

This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for Instacart stock, as outlined in the steps further up this page. Ideally you want to time your investment when the stock’s price is low so that you can profit by selling the shares after they increase in value.

Selling Instacart

When you sell is up to you. You might decide to hold for a long period of time, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that Instacart’s stock is already up a lot compared to the price you bought it and you’ve noticed that the stock market is starting to fall, it might make sense to sell and take your profits to invest elsewhere. Equally, if the stock has fallen since you bought it and looks set to fall further, it might be a good idea to cut your losses by selling your shares.

Trading Instacart shares

Trading is the same process, it’s just done over shorter periods of time with the aim to make small profits on a regular basis. This means that you can make money faster and spend your profits in your day-to-day life – however, on the other side it means you can lose money faster as well. For inexperienced investors, we generally recommend making investments for at least 6 months to a year instead of making trades in quick succession.

You can trade Instacart shares through buying and selling shares, or by trading with CFDs. These allow investors to speculate on stock prices and trade with leverage in pursuit of bigger gains. CFDs trading is explained further in the next section, but it is worth noting that beginners should avoid trading with leverage. It comes with large risks and is best left to experienced investors.

Share dealing vs CFD trading

When it comes to investing in any stock, the two options you have are share dealing and trading. Which one of these methods to opt for largely depends on your investment timeline, with investors thinking long term tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short term gains pursuing a more aggressive trading strategy.

Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Share dealing 

Share dealing refers to the practice of holding shares in a particular company over the long term. When investing like this, you’re seeking to profit either from dividend payments or an increase in the stock’s price over time.

When investing your money this way, it is important to do thorough fundamental analysis of the company in which you are investing. You want to put your money in a stock you believe will trend upwards over time, even if there is some market volatility along the way, rather than get distracted by shorter term peaks and troughs.

Pros

  • Can build wealth over time to achieve financial goals
  • Don’t need to be very reactive to short-term market movements
  • Some stocks will give you an income through regular dividend payments

Cons

  • Takes a long time to realise any profits
  • Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments

CFD Trading 

If your aim is to generate profits in the short term, then you might be better off trading shares than holding them in your portfolio. Stock trades like this are executed using CFDs (contracts for difference), which allow investors to trade against the value of a stock without having to take ownership of it. When CFD trading, investors are looking to buy and sell stocks fast to profit from short-term fluctuations in value.

One aspect of CFD trading that many investors find attractive is that they allow you to trade with leverage. This means you can place large trades while only putting up a fraction of the value yourself – for instance, if a platform offered leverage of 1:10, you could put £10 into Instacart shares and be able to trade £100 worth. This can maximise profits if the market moves in your favour, but be careful as it can also lead to heavy losses.

When trading using CFDs, it is key to be skilled at technical analysis and reading stock price charts. As you’re trading stocks quickly and frequently, the fundamental strength of the company in which you’re investing isn’t as important as being able to predict how its stock price will rise and fall minute-by-minute.

Pros

  • Can generate fast profits if you read the market right 
  • Some platforms allow you to trade with leverage
  • Prevents your capital being tied up so you can take advantage of investment opportunities

Cons

  • Trading with leverage is risky and can lead to big losses
  • Doesn’t necessarily generate growth over the long term

Consider which approach suits you best and craft an investment strategy that works for you. If you need more information, then simply take our stock trading course and read our guide to CFD trading to get you up to speed. 

How to choose a broker

With the wide variety of online brokers available these days, it can be hard to figure out which is the best service to go with. Our comparison table and in-depth reviews can help you cut through the noise, but by and large these are the aspects you should be considering when selecting a broker:

  • Range of stocks available. The most important thing is that you can actually use the broker to find the shares you’re looking for. Some brokers offer more stocks than others, and many will allow you to trade other assets, such as forex and commodities.
  • Fees and commissions. You want to keep as large a chunk of your profits as you can, so it’s important to make sure your broker doesn’t charge high fees that can eat into your profits.
  • Regulation. You should only use regulated brokers to place trades. Unregulated brokers can be risky and offer little to no protection if the business were to fail while you had funds in your account.
  • Payment methods available. You might want to fund your account using a specific payment method, such as PayPal. Not all brokers accept every payment method, but using our comparisons you can search only the brokers that support the option you’re looking for.
  • Reputation. One of the strongest indicators of a broker’s reliability is the reputation it has with the customers who have used it. Brokers are online businesses, and as such many user experiences can be found online. You can check these out in addition to our reviews to make sure you choose the right platform.
  • Customer service. As you’re going to be investing your money using the platform, you want to check that the broker offers good customer service in case you have a query or something goes wrong.

Latest Instacart news

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Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL) said on Friday its cruises operating in fiscal Q3 were cash flow positive. Shares of the company closed about 3.0% up on confidence that momentum will sustain in the upcoming months. Net loss increased sequentially to $2.8 billion Carnival reported $2.8 billion in net loss…
Cummins Inc (NYSE: CMI) shares didn’t perform well last several weeks as the company continues to face significant constraints in the supply chain. Fundamental analysis: Cummins continues to face significant constraints in the supply chain Cummins is an American multinational corporation that manufactures and distributes engines, filtration, and power…
Shares of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (NYSE: TMO) are up more than 30% on a year-to-date basis, but Goldman Sachs says “multiple growth drivers” will push the stock further up in 2022. Goldman Sachs sees 13% upside in Thermo Fisher In a note on Friday, Goldman Sachs’ Matthew Sykes…
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), stated on Friday that the current semiconductor situation would be resolved by next year. The tech entrepreneur believes the chip scarcity is a “short-term” rather than a “long-term” problem. Several chip fabrication plants are being built Elon Musk said:…
The laboratory division, home to the original Echo and the Alexa voice assistant, is back in the news. Tech giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is working on designing and developing a series of new products and services at its Lab126 division. At a launch event which is scheduled…

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James Knight
Financial writer
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed, rode, and ate an ostrich all on… read more.