Despite the fact that sales of groceries are growing at a much quicker rate online than they are in stores, online remains a very small part of the UK grocery market, according to Nielsen retail data released today.
Online grocery sales in Britain increased by 4.6 per cent in 2017 to £6.6 billion, a third faster than in-store sales which grew at 3.4 per cent, however, online’s share only increased from 6.3 per cent to 6.4 per cent across the year.
“Despite the hype and attention given to online and its ability to change the way people shop, the reality seems rather different,” says Aylin Ceylan, Nielsen’s analytics business partner. “Although online spend increased by around £300m last year, a 0.1 per cent rise in market share is a rather pedestrian rate. 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.”
Ceylan points to the fact that neither popularity nor basket size is an issue for the online grocery sector because “two-thirds of people who buy groceries do so online and the average online basket is around four times bigger than an in-store one.”
She says the issue is firmly a “frequency one.” On average, people buy groceries online less than once a month (11 ‘trips’ a year) compared to nearly 21 a month in-store (247 per year).