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Less than 4% of UK consumers do their weekly grocery shop online

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Research for 'E-Commerce: The Internet Grocery Market', a new report from market intelligence provider Key Note, has revealed the effect of the recession on the buying behaviour of online grocery shoppers in the UK.

A survey, based on a sample of 1,005 adults and undertaken in February this year, asked what impact the recession has had on consumers' purchasing of online groceries. The research found that 31.7% of the respondents who were identified as online shoppers had reduced the amount they usually spent on purchasing groceries via the internet, whereas almost two-thirds (64.8%) of those who shopped online reported no change in the amount they usually spent.

Noticeable from the survey findings were the relatively high percentages of online shoppers in social grades A and B who reported that they had reduced the amounts they usually spent on buying groceries via the internet (at 54.9% and 40.2%, respectively).

At the other end of the scale, the survey found that only a small proportion of online shoppers (3.5%) reported that, due to the recession, they had increased the amount they usually spent on online grocery purchases.

In overall terms, the research showed that 17.8% of all respondents interviewed purchased groceries via the internet at least once a year, with 3.8% making online purchases at least once a week and a further 2.4% making them two or three times a month.

"The internet grocery market is forecast to exhibit further substantial growth up to 2013, with some of the leading suppliers suggesting that online sales could eventually account for up to 20% of the overall grocery market," says Key Note. "This said, in the absence of new, major suppliers entering the market, any expansion of the online grocery market will continue to be determined by the growth plans of the five major suppliers. Market development will also be generated by the continued growth of the niche and specialist suppliers and the consumer's appetite for purchasing these types of products over the internet."

Key Note forecasts that in the five years up to 2013 the UK internet grocery market will continue to demonstrate high annual rates of market expansion and will account for an increasing proportion of grocery sales overall. The value of the internet grocery market is predicted to more than double by 2013, when compared with the size of the market in 2008.

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