Fraser Hamilton

How to group an array of objects by key in JavaScript

July 07, 2020

It’s often useful to be able to take an array of objects and group them by key. You can reach for utility libraries like lodash or underscore but this task can actually be accomplished with vanilla JavaScript. We can leverage Array.prototype.reduce to build our little utility method.

const orders = [
  {
    productId: 32,
    customerId: 23,
    quantity: 2,
    placedOn: '2020-07-07',
  },
  {
    productId: 47,
    customerId: 44,
    quantity: 5,
    placedOn: '2020-07-06',
  },
  {
    productId: 32,
    customerId: 64,
    quantity: 3,
    placedOn: '2020-07-07',
  },
  {
    productId: 12,
    customerId: 10,
    quantity: 1,
    placedOn: '2020-07-03',
  },
  {
    productId: 9,
    customerId: 55,
    quantity: 1,
    placedOn: '2020-07-06',
  },
]

const grouped = orders.reduce((r, a) => {
  r[a.placedOn] = [...(r[a.placedOn] || []), a]
  return r
}, {})

console.log(JSON.stringify(grouped))
{
  "2020-07-07": [
    {
      "productId": 32,
      "customerId": 23,
      "quantity": 2,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-07"
    },
    {
      "productId": 32,
      "customerId": 64,
      "quantity": 3,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-07"
    }
  ],
  "2020-07-06": [
    {
      "productId": 47,
      "customerId": 44,
      "quantity": 5,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-06"
    },
    {
      "productId": 9,
      "customerId": 55,
      "quantity": 1,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-06"
    }
  ],
  "2020-07-03": [
    {
      "productId": 12,
      "customerId": 10,
      "quantity": 1,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-03"
    }
  ]
}

It’s a simple as that but we can still make some improvements. We want to be able to reuse this code to group any array of objects not just our orders.

const orders = [...]

const groupBy = (arr, key) => {
  return arr.reduce((r, x) => {
    r[x[key]] = [...(r[x[key]] || []), x]
    return r
  }, {})
}

const grouped = groupBy(orders, 'placedOn')

console.log(JSON.stringify(grouped))
{
  "2020-07-07": [
    {
      "productId": 32,
      "customerId": 23,
      "quantity": 2,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-07"
    },
    {
      "productId": 32,
      "customerId": 64,
      "quantity": 3,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-07"
    }
  ],
  "2020-07-06": [
    {
      "productId": 47,
      "customerId": 44,
      "quantity": 5,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-06"
    },
    {
      "productId": 9,
      "customerId": 55,
      "quantity": 1,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-06"
    }
  ],
  "2020-07-03": [
    {
      "productId": 12,
      "customerId": 10,
      "quantity": 1,
      "placedOn": "2020-07-03"
    }
  ]
}

And just like that you’ve avoided importing a bulky utility library all thanks to the handy native array methods.


Written by Fraser Hamilton a full stack developer based out of Edinburgh, Scotland.

© 2020, Fraser Hamilton