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More than half of online grocery shoppers buy from Tesco: study

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More than half of online grocery shoppers buy from Tesco, according to a new study, which also found that most online grocery shoppers still buy the bulk of their food in traditional stores, as a multichannel model of food buying develops.

Kantar Media Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Report analysed behavioural data while also quizzing 1,500 shoppers for research carried out between May and July of this year. It found that 57% of those who bought food online opted for Tesco , while 33% chose Asda and 18% Sainsbury’s . With a smaller share of the market were Ocado (5%) , Amazon grocery (4%) , Waitrose (2%) and Marks & Spencer (1%) .

Most shoppers, found the study, knew who they wanted to shop with before they got to the site. Search was identified as the leading referral source to the leading grocery retailers, and 69% were shown to have a clear intent to shop with a specific retailer. But shoppers also arrived at grocery sites through searches for fresh food items (31%), for recipes (24%) and for processed food (12%). One of five (20%) of the UK internet population visits the leading grocery retail websites each month, with an average of 1.3m consumers shopping online.

They do so in the search for convenience: 60% want to shop at any time, 58% want groceries delivered to the door and 55% are avoiding carrying heavy items home, the report found. Tools that make shopping faster and easier for consumers have an important part to play, the study found. On average 57% of online grocery shoppers check lists of ‘favourite’ or ‘last purchased’ items before they check out.

This is higher on two of the most popular sites: 71% of Tesco shoppers do so and 66% of those using the Sainsbury’s site do. However only 27% of Waitrose shoppers check such lists. Kantar identified a rising popularity in online recipes. One in five (20%) visitors to the Waitrose site look at its recipes, compared to 10% for Ocado, 6% for Tesco, 5% Marks & Spencer, 4% Asda and 2% Sainsbury’s.

The study also identified two types of online grocery shoppers. ‘Heavy’ shoppers buy 62% of their groceries online and 38% offline, with an average basket value of £144. ‘Light’ shoppers buy 28% of their groceries online and spend an average of £82 per shop. Heavy shoppers are more likely to use a range of grocery retailers, with 69% of this group doing so. Only 17% of light shoppers act in the same way.

Jeremy Radcliffe, managing director, Kantar Media Compete said the report showed the importance placed by “time-strapped consumers on the flexibility and convenience of doing their grocery shopping online.” This included being able to shop at a time that suits them, being able to add purchases to their basket instantly, and the availability of new recipes to inspire their shopping lists.

“These are key indicators for how supermarkets can encourage an increase in online grocery shopping,” said Radcliffe. “The growth of online grocery signifies a shift to ‘multichannel’ shopping rather than an outright substitution of one channel for another. People are increasingly mixing the channels but we have seen that the majority of online grocery shoppers still make most of their grocery purchases in traditional stores. However, as many as one-third indicate that 60% or more of their grocery purchases are made online”.

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