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Online grocery sales growing at 'pedestrian rate' in UK

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Staff Writer |
Online grocery sales
Britain   Customers head in-store

Research released by Nielsen on Friday found that the online share of the UK's grocery market is growing at a "pedestrian" rate, with its market share growing 0.1% in 2017.

Online grocery sales remain a small part of the market despite significant growth according to Nielsen's data, with online sales up 4.6% £6.6bn in 2017 compared to a 3.4% rise in in-store sales.

Aylin Ceylan, Nielsen's analytics business partner, said: "Despite the hype and attention given to online and its ability to change the way people shop, the reality seems rather different. Although online spend increased by around £300m last year, a 0.1% rise in market share is a rather pedestrian rate."

Aylin said the issue for online grocery shopping is one of frequency, as customers buy online less than once a month but make in-store purchases nearly 21 times per month on average.

"Many will be surprised it's not faster but online shopping in grocery, unlike many other sectors, is much more a complementary option to stores not an 'instead of option," said Ceylan.

As such, users of online shopping services are more inclined to use them to stock up or do a large weekly shop rather than for a small shop to restock on essentials.

Delivery charges are the oft cited reason for the reason online grocery shopping has not yet taken the UK by storm but Nielsen found that only one in four shoppers say the chargers are a barrier to online purchases.

"2018 may be a seismic year for online grocery with the rise of voice assistants from Google and Apple, the Dash button from Amazon, the extension of click & collect to more supermarkets all making it easier for shoppers, as well as online meal-kit and 'box' subscriptions such as Hello Fresh and Graze offering new purchasing opportunities," said Ceylan.


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