The days of heading to the supermarket are over for some Brits, as they trade trolleys for home delivery. New research from Mintel reveals that 29% of online grocery shoppers in the U.K. are shopping for their groceries more online now than 12 months ago.
Online grocery sales are forecast to reach £9.8 billion in 2016, up 13% from an estimated £8.6 billion in 2015. Sales are forecast to grow a further 73% to reach £15 billion by 2020, the study states.
Online-only grocery retailers are particularly benefiting from sofa surfing, with sales increasing 110% from £1.1 billion in 2010 to an estimated £2.3 billion in 2015. Currently, online grocery shopping accounted for 6% of total grocery sector sales in 2015, up from 3% in 2010.
Today, 48% of Brits are online grocery shoppers. About 11% do all of their grocery shopping online, with a further 12% doing most of their grocery shopping online. Younger consumers are shunning the supermarket trip: 19% of 25- to 34-year-olds now do all of their grocery shopping online, with 36% of this group shopping for groceries online more often now than 12 months ago.
At 60%, convenience is the main reason British consumers cite for shopping online more. This is followed by the fact that online shopping allows consumers to keep better track of how much they’re spending (33%) and the wider variety of delivery slots available (32%).
“The online grocery market continues to grow in double digits, but remains small in the context of the wider grocery market,” says Nick Carroll, retail analyst at Mintel. “However, the shift away from superstores to more convenient shopping channels is certainly benefiting the market, with the majority of consumers now doing some grocery shopping online and almost a third saying that they now shop online more than a year ago.”
He adds that the majority of online shoppers “still mix online shopping with store-based shopping, but consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable shopping at online-only retailers with growth outpacing the total market.”
No online groceries for one-quarter of Brits
About 24% of Brits having never bought groceries online and having no interest in doing so, rising to 38% of those older than 55 years old. Additionally, 11% of U.K. online grocery shoppers are shopping online less now than 12 months ago.
About 38% of those who are shopping for groceries online less or who have stopped shopping for groceries online have done so because of the lack of control when choosing fresh products, while 26% are put off by high delivery charges, and 25% have begun shopping more at discount grocery retailers.
“The lack of control when selecting fresh food and drink products remains one of the biggest issues for online grocery retailing and not one that is easy to address,” Carroll says. “All of the major players now offer some form of freshness guarantee, but this is still not a substitute for picking your own. Inevitably, due to the volume of orders the major retailers now have to process, not all products or orders live up to expectations.
“Additionally, the discounters have obviously been a disrupting force in the grocery sector for a number of years,” he adds, “and it seems that online grocery retailers are not immune to the impact discounters are having on the market.”
Finally, it seems that Brits are responding to delivery passes from retailers, entitling them to discounted delivery rates, according to the study. As many as 21% of those who shop for online groceries at retailers that offer a delivery pass currently own one, and a further 29% don’t but would be interested in having one in the future.
“As we see Brits turning away from the main weekly shop and toward fluid, when-needed shopping, it is important for online grocery retailers to find a way to engage with these consumers,” Carroll says. “A wider proliferation of delivery passes may be one way in which retailers can do so, as it makes more frequent online grocery shops viable.”