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Instacart is both very and not really important to Whole Foods

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

One intriguing element of Amazon's $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods is the latter's relationship with grocery delivery service Instacart, which is valued at $3.4 billion — a relationship whose importance varies, depending on how you look at it.

Very important: As of a year ago, Instacart orders accounted for "mid-to-high single digits" of Whole Foods sales in markets where the service is available, with some stores having an average order size of $100, per an earnings call. At some stores, Instacart accounted for as much as 15% of total sales, according to TechCrunch.

Not really important: At the same time, Instacart accounts for a very small percentage of Whole Foods' overall revenue. The grocer says that it expects to generate nearly $400 million in digital sales in 2017, mostly through Instacart, which would be only around 2.5% of anticipated overall sales. Whole Foods also represents just under 10% of Instacart's sales, a source tells Axios, though it's unclear if this includes delivery and service fees.