10 facts on how consumers shop online for groceries

Nielsen reveals the different ways people shop online compared to in-store and predict potentially seismic changes for the market.

27 April 2018
statisticssupermarketsonline shoppingdelivery

  • Online grocery sales in Britain increased by 4.6% in 2017 to £6.6 billion, a third faster than in-store sales which grew at 3.4%.
  • But the online share of grocery sales only increased from 6.3% to 6.4% last year. 
  • People forked out an extra £300m last year online, which was a 0.1% rise in the market.
  • Two thirds of people who buy groceries do so online and the average online basket is around four times bigger than an in-store one.
  • Generally, people buy groceries online less than once a month, with 11 ‘trips’ a year,  compared to nearly 21 a month in-store, which amounts to 247 per year.
  • Online shopping is dominated by the big shop and weekly trips which account for twice the share of online trips at 82%, than they do for in-store trips at 44%.
  • Regular smaller ‘top-up’ shops account for just 18% of online trips compared to 57% for in-store.
  • Products such as pet care, frozen foods, baby/toddler and household/cleaning tend to make up a much bigger proportion of online baskets than in-store ones.
  • Only one in four shoppers say delivery costs are actually a barrier to buying groceries online.
  • This year may be a seismic for online grocery with the rise of voice assistants from Google and Apple, the extension of click and collect to more supermarkets, as well as online meal-kit and ‘box’ subscriptions such as Hello Fresh and Graze offering new purchasing opportunities, says Aylin Ceylan, Nielsen’s analytics business partner.

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