A lack of frequent orders is holding back the online grocery market


While 46 per cent of consumers have tried online grocery shopping, only 15 per cent do so regularly

The online grocery market still has lots of room to grow, with doubts over freshness, delivery and an unwillingness to forgo the social side of shopping all barriers to its expansion, a new report from YouGov indicates. 

The Aldi meets Amazon – Digitalisation & Discount Retailers: Disruption of Food Retail report finds that while 46 per cent of people have tried online shopping at least once, only 15 per cent of those do so a few times a month. This indicates that the majority are still using bricks and mortar supermarkets for the bulk of their grocery shopping. 

What’s more, online grocery shoppers – like those who only buy in-store – are doing smaller “top-up” purchases too. Close to nine in ten (87 per cent) of those who have purchased groceries online are more likely to do smaller shops throughout a week, either instead of or in addition to their main visit or order.

The findings tie in with recent ONS data which shows that despite the clamour for supermarket brands to improve their web offering, only 6 per cent of total UK grocery sales are made online. Alongside YouGov’s data, this suggests that the market can grow considerably – while also pointing to a secure long-term future for physical supermarkets.

Barriers to growth

The report indicates that the biggest barrier to consumers using online grocery services is the inability to touch and feel products before buying them. Over seven in ten (71 per cent) non-online shoppers say they are resistant to purchase from a store’s website for this reason. The data shows that over four in ten (44 per cent) who have done online grocery shopping believe it to be a negative aspect of the process.

Tied to this is a widespread uncertainty about the state in which the produce will arrive. Close to six in ten (57 per cent) of non-online shoppers do not trust the quality and freshness of the products they could buy online, something that is, again, echoed by a significant number (31 per cent) of people who buy groceries online.

While 46 per cent of consumers have tried online grocery shopping, only 15 per cent do so regularly