Online grocery sales 'to grow by a third this year'

Mintel research has forecast that the online grocery market will grow by 33 per cent in 2020 to reach an estimated value of £16.8 billion; up from £12.7 billion in 2019.

This follows four consecutive years of slowing growth: in 2019 growth fell to a historic low of just 2.9 per cent.

The market is set to be worth £17.9 billion by 2024, growing by 41 per cent over the five year period, according to the market research firm.

Mintel's analysis also revealed a dramatic change in online shopping habits over the COVID-19 lockdown period, habits it suggested could prove lasting. Before social distancing measures were announced, seven per cent of Brits increased the total amount of online shopping (both food and non-food). In the space of fewer than two months, the number of consumers who say they have increased their online shopping has risen to 36 per cent.

Meanwhile, half of Brits have tried to limit the time they spend in-store, while a further nine per cent have used Click and Collect more.

Nick Carroll, associate director of retail research at Mintel, said: “Over the course of just a few months, COVID-19 has had a seismic impact on Britain’s grocery sector.

"Shopper numbers in the online grocery market have plateaued in recent years as retailers struggled to get new customers to try these services, but the outbreak is bringing a new audience to online grocery, and this should boost the market long term with strong growth forecast through to 2024."

The current guidelines, which ask those aged 70 and over to remain at home, mean that older shoppers are more heavily reliant on having groceries and other goods delivered. But while some older Brits are experienced in ordering online, they are by far the minority.

Mintel found that 28 per cent of UK internet users aged over 65 were online grocery shoppers prior to the COVID outbreak - a figure which has risen to 37 per cent since the outbreak began.

But while some are going online for their grocery requirements, many are relying on the kindness of friends and family, with 24 per cent of consumers aged under 44 reporting they have been helping friends/family and/or neighbours with their shopping.

Carroll added: “Older generations that had previously shied away from online grocery have, effectively, been forced to change their habits in the face of social distancing measures.

"There is a real need to ensure access to online grocery deliveries for older consumers - we’re seeing some retailers already thinking of easier ways to order goods, including phone orders for next-day delivery.”

    Share Story:

Recent Stories

Find out how HULFT can help you manage data, integration, supply chain automation and digital transformation across your retail enterprise.
Talking shop: retail technology solutions from Brother
Retail Systems editor Peter Walker sits down with Brother’s senior commercial client manager Jessica Stansfield to talk through the company’s solutions for retailers and hospitality businesses, what’s new in labelling technology, and the benefits of outsourcing printing.