Shoppers shun supermarkets for online
Published:  14 April, 2016

Supermarkets may be losing trade as an increasing number of Brits turn to online to do their grocery shopping. 

Research from Mintel revealed that, as of December 2015, there was a 29% increase in online grocery sales compared to the 12 months previous.

Online grocery sales are forecast to reach £9.8 billion this year, a 13% increase from an estimated £8.6bn in 2015. By 2020, sales are projected to grow by a further 73%, hitting £15bn.

Meanwhile, exclusively online grocery retailers, in particular, are benefiting from online shopping, with sales increasing 110% from £1.1bn in 2010, to approximately £2.3bn last year. The online sector accounted for 6% of total grocery sales in 2015, up from 3% in 2010.

Nearly half (48%) of all Britons are current online grocery shoppers. One in 10 (11%) do all of their shopping online, with 12% buying most of their groceries online. One-fifth (19%) of 25- to 34-year-olds do all of their grocery shopping online, with 36% of this group shopping for groceries online more often now than a year previously.

Convenience has been recognised as the main reason shoppers are moving online, with 60% of online shoppers citing this as the cause. Thirty-three per cent claim to have turned to online as it allows them to keep better track of how much they’re spending, and 32% use it for the wider variety of delivery slots available.

“The online grocery market continues to grow in double digits, but remains small in the context of the wider grocery market,” said 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 they now shop online more than a year ago. 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.”

Despite figures, nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits have never bought groceries online and have no interest in doing so. Furthermore, 11% of UK online grocery shoppers are now doing so less so than they were 12 months ago.

A main reason consumers are ceasing to shop online is because of the lack of control when choosing fresh products (38%), while one-quarter (26%) are put off by delivery charges or have begun shopping more at discount grocery retailers (25%).

“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,” continued Carroll.

“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 disruptive force in the grocery sector for a number of years, and it seems that online grocery retailers are not immune to the impact discounters are having on the market.”