Number of Brits online grocery shopping falls by 4%

online grocery shopping

Brits now spend £12.3bn online grocery shopping, up 9%, but surprisingly the number of consumers buying online has fallen by 4%.


British shoppers spent £12.3bn on online groceries in 2018, up 9% from 2017, according to the latest data from Mintel – but the same data also reveals that the number of Brits buying groceries online has actually fallen by 4% between 2016 and 2018.

Online grocery accounted for 7% of total grocery retail sales in 2018, up from 6.1% in 2017, but the total number shopping online for groceries dropped from 49% to 45%.

One of the fastest-growing channels in the UK grocery market, the online grocery sector is still adding to its share of total grocery retail sales with the figure expected to reach £13.6bn this year.

While 45% of Brits do shop electronically, it seems retailers are struggling to entice new shoppers to online grocery retailing. Younger Brits are still enthusiastic about the convenience of having groceries delivered, particularly those aged 25-34, with 61% of this group doing some online grocery shopping and over a quarter (27%) saying they do all or most of their grocery shopping online.

However, middle-aged and older shoppers are more reluctant, and their reluctance is growing. While just over a third (35%) of those aged 45+ report buying some groceries online, the number of Brits in this group who have “never bought groceries online and have no interest in doing so” has grown from 34% in 2015 to 42% in 2018.

The most common reason why consumers do not shop online is that they prefer to choose fresh products themselves (73%). There are also concerns around high delivery charges (24%) and minimum spend (18%).

With numbers shopping online for groceries stalling, many retailers have looked to introduce same-day delivery services as a way to grow appeal. However, such services often come with an increased delivery charge.

When asked how much consumers would be willing to pay for same-day delivery, 30% of online grocery shoppers say they would pay £1–£2.99; whilst a further 27% say £3–£4.99. Just 19% of these consumers would be willing to pay over £5 and 24% say they would not be willing to pay anything for same-day delivery.

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