Pandemic 'accelerates online transformation' of grocery retail

The UK food and grocery market is set to grow by 10 per cent - or by £19.1 billion to £211 billion - between 2019 and 2022, according to the latest market forecast research from IGD.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to online, a channel IGD expects to mostly retain the loyalty of new shoppers gained during the crisis. Discount retailing will, however, become the fastest-growing channel in 2021 and 2022, as shoppers looking to economise due to rising unemployment.

In terms of figures, online is set to rise by 59.2 per cent or £7.0 billion during 2019 to 2022, with the overall online market share increasing from 6.2 per cent in 2019 to 8.9 per cent in 2022.

Simon Wainwright, director of global insight at IGD, said: “We forecast e-commerce will gain market share faster than previously predicted, following the dramatic influx of new shoppers and bigger order sizes in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

"While we expect growth to pause in 2021, it will later resume, with continuing expansion from Amazon and the launch of online operations by M&S through Ocado supplementing activity by the Big Four supermarkets."

Discount retail will rise by 25.4 per cent, or £6.3 billion, between 2019 and 2022, increasing market share from 12.8 per cent in 2019 to 14.6 per cent in 2022 - as Aldi and Lidl’s rapid expansion continues.

IGD stated that convenience stores will see growth of 13.2 per cent, or £5.4 billion, between 2019 and 2022, with market share rising from 21.4 per cent in 2019 to 22 per cent in 2022.

As for supermarkets, their market share will decrease from 46.1 per cent in 2019 to 42.3 per cent in 2022, and similarly, hypermarkets are forecast to see market share fall from 8.4 per cent in 2019 to 7.6 per cent in 2022.

Wainwright concluded: “Strong growth at the start of the pandemic - driven by shoppers stocking up and preferring spacious stores - has receded, so we expect hypermarkets to revert to sales declines as more shoppers migrate to other channels.

"After a boost to sales in 2020 from COVID-19, supermarket growth will turn negative by 2022 - the channel will lose ground, particularly to discount and online, though it will defend its share better than hypermarkets," he added.

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