Grocery shopping goes hybridCurrently, between physical and online stores, the physical option remains the most prominent way for shoppers to get their supermarket goods. The increased popularity of e-grocery, alongside the post-pandemic return to shopping in person, however, has left many shoppers comfortably open to the idea of buying groceries and food online. Many consumers in the UK have comfortably adjusted to a more multichannel experience, with most shoppers preferring to tack on online shopping to their mainly in-store trips. This method of grocery shopping, mostly physical with a mix of online on the side, saw the most traction among UK shoppers aged 16 to 24, over half of which purchased their groceries this way. In comparison, in 2023, shoppers from 27 to 42 years old were the group most comfortable with buying their groceries mostly online.
It comes as no surprise that forecasts on the penetration and growth rates of online grocery in the coming years reflect the steady return to mostly in-store shopping. With the option to safely purchase in stores available and avoid things like added delivery fees, annual growth and usage rates decreased by 12 percent in 2022 and are only expected to slowly increase in the next years.
Big supermarket chains and dark store deliveryTesco, one of the UK’s most well-known supermarket brands, was used by nearly half of online grocery shoppers in the country in 2022. The company’s website, tesco.com ranked number one both in e-commerce net sales and by the share of users who visit the site. Other popular brands in the UK online grocery scene included Sainsbury, Asda, and Ocado.
When asked which companies they would like to see offering online food ordering options, a survey revealed that Aldi was at the top of the list for over half of respondents. The German-headquartered grocery chain has operated in the UK for over three decades, and has over 1,000 stores in the country. Besides big-name brands like Tesco and Aldi, one of the most regularly used online grocery delivery platforms in the UK was Dija, a dark store grocery retailer founded in 2020 by former Deliveroo employees. The platform was used regularly by over 25 percent of shoppers, and occasionally by an additional 30 percent.