Online food shopping accelerates even as lockdown eases

23 June 2020, 09:44

Ocado delivery
Online sales boom. Picture: PA

Online sales increased by 91% in the last four weeks, figures show.

As supermarket chains have rapidly increased their ability to deliver food to British households, shoppers have rushed to fill the gaps, according to new research.

Even as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, Britons are turning to online grocery sales more and more, Kantar revealed on Tuesday.

In the last four weeks online sales have jumped by an incredible 91%, accelerating past the levels seen even during the height of lockdown.

Last month digital sales only increased by 75%.

It comes as supermarkets managed to expand their delivery operations to keep up with demand, in a way that they had struggled with at the beginning of the crisis.

One in five British households bought groceries over the internet in the month to the middle of June, Kantar said.

However, despite growth in online shopping, and a surge in demand for convenience stores, things are settling back into more normal patterns, the research group said.

“While many of the major trends of the coronavirus period continued into June, the relaxing of lockdown rules is starting to ease the market back towards pre-pandemic shopping patterns,” Kantar said.

“We’re still shopping less frequently but shoppers are gradually changing their behaviour.”

Although households made 77 million fewer trips to their grocery stores in the last four weeks than in the same period last, that is still 19 million more than in May this year.

Customers are still spending more per trip, with the average £26.37 spend being 42% more than a year ago.

The switch to online and convenience shopping has had some predictable outcomes.

Online supermarket Ocado saw its sales grow by 42.2% in the last 12 weeks, the highest of all the grocers, gaining its biggest market share of all time, at 1.7%.

Meanwhile supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and especially Co-op, which have an extensive chain of convenience outlets, saw good jumps in sales.

Tesco was up by 12.1%, Sainsbury’s rose 10.2%, and Co-op reached its highest market share since 2001, at 7.4%, after sales rose 34.5%.

Sales were also up at all the other supermarkets, including Asda, up 6.3%, Morrisons, up 10.5%, Lidl, up 14.3%, Aldi, up 8%, and Waitrose, up 8.6%.

However, Iceland was one of the best performers. As the company marked 50 years, and founder Sir Malcolm Walker bought out his South African partners earlier this month, sales grew by 31.4%.

It gave Iceland its biggest market share since June 2000, at 2.5% of the market.

By Press Association

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