New research finds that over half of UK consumers are buying their groceries online

A new study has revealed that more than half (60%) of consumers in the UK buy at least some of their groceries online, with 16% now ordering all or most of their groceries via the internet. 

The UK representative study, conducted by Spryker in partnership with market research firm Appinio, surveyed 2,500 consumers on their experiences and opinions about online grocery shopping to understand the status quo and potential of online groceries. 

As the third in a series of country studies (Germany and the U.S.), the results reveal that the UK is ahead of other markets in terms of innovation and widespread adoptation of online grocery shopping. 

A quarter of UK households’ food budgets is now spent ordering for home delivery online, and in the 35-44 age bracket, this share is already more than one-third. Furthermore, households in the UK that shop for food online are already spending as much there as at their local stores.

A growing trend

The report found that growth is primarily being driven by users in the 35-44 age bracket, who spend more of their grocery budget ordering online than other age groups. Yet, during the pandemic, many older consumers have become online converts and are actually more likely to be higher-spending, online-only customers.

British consumers who shop online do so primarily to save time and to avoid the crowds, often ordering their whole weekly shop on the internet – with a strong preference for home delivery over pick-up in-store.

Room for improvement

Despite the maturity of the UK market, however, there are still opportunities for growth within the sector valued at £200bn. Over 80% of UK consumers said that they would do more food shopping online if the user experience were improved. Online was viewed as winning on price and convenience, however, offline is still seen as offering superior food quality, with many consumers indicating that their biggest bugbear was item substitution.

Big Four on top

In terms of brand recognition for online groceries, respondents named the big four supermarkets above all –  Tesco (43.1%, Asda (34.5%), Sainsbury’s (24.%) and Morrisons (20.5%). This results reflect that large supermarket chains have been quick to react to the demand for online ordering and are the best-known online food delivery services in the UK. In the rapid delivery stakes, 77% of those surveyed recognised Uber Eats, putting it on an equal footing with Just Eat; Deliveroo followed in third place with 74%.

The multichannel future

When it came to buying preferences, online grocery shoppers indicated that they switch between devices, using mobile devices and desktop for different ordering situations. Offline supermarkets, however, are not going away anytime soon, as four in five respondents rated shopping at supermarkets as a pleasant experience despite the fact that, in two years’ time, one in four Brits sees themselves buying most of their groceries online. This contradiction points to expanding customer expations, to which retailers will need to continue to offer both on- and offline channel responses.
Read the full UK Online Grocery Report 2022 here.

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