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E-commerce purchase rate of food or groceries in Europe 2006-2019, by country

Over one-third of consumers from the Netherlands bought food or groceries online in 2019, a number higher than in Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The Netherlands were followed by the UK, with a penetration rate of 32 percent, and Germany. Due to a break in the time series, however, the Netherlands lost around 11 percentage points between 2017 and 2018. That is not to say that Dutch consumers do not purchase their groceries through a web shop: the country’s two biggest supermarkets lead the online market in 2018. However, living in proximity to a physical store was a major determinant for customers in the Netherlands to not use online grocery shopping.

How big is online grocery shopping in Europe?

In 2017/2018, seven percent of the value in global online grocery sales was made in the UK. France accounted for roughly 5.5 percent, whereas Czechia surpassed the Netherlands and Germany. The online grocery market size in the UK was set at 14.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 and is expected to increase to 22.1 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. Germany’s market size was much smaller in comparison (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) but is believed to triple in size in the upcoming years.

How about online supermarkets in Europe?

Most of the players in the online grocery shopping market are “traditional” supermarkets which only make a small part of their revenue through online sales. What about the European e-tailers that do all their sales online? In the United Kingdom, one of these online-only start-up supermarkets is Ocado whilst the Netherlands has Picnic. The two companies are examples of retailers that target a specific audience, focusing on an online platform and at-home delivery. This has proven successful in the Netherlands, where Picnic increased its market share significantly between 2015 and 2019. Ocado, on the other hand, worked with Waitrose for multiple years but will start a cooperation with Marks & Spencer from 2020.

Share of consumers who purchased food or groceries online in selected countries in Europe from 2006 to 2019

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Release date

April 2020


Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom

Survey time period

2006 to 2019

Age group

16-75 years

Special properties


Supplementary notes

* The source notes that in 2018 adn 2019, the results had low reliability in Belgium, while there was also a break in the time series for the Netherlands.

The figures have been taken from several publications.

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Statistics on "E-commerce in Belgium"

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