Online grocery shopping in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics and Facts

Online grocery shopping in the United Kingdom is the fastest growing purchase channel, both in terms of value and growth, according to retail analysts IGD. The average value of weekly online sales in predominantly food stores has more than doubled between 2010 and 2016, reaching 141.9 million British pounds in 2016. With the introduction of online grocery shopping, home delivery and click and collect in the nineties, the market was initially made up of the four major players on the British grocery scene: Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco. Since then, online grocery sales have skyrocketed, with the United Kingdom forecasted to become the second largest online grocery market worldwide after China by 2020. With the introduction of new players, such as purely online retailers Ocado and AmazonFresh, the online grocery market share has changed with Tesco, Asda and Ocado the leading online grocery retailers in terms of edible grocery sales.


Currently, physical stores make up the largest portion of grocery shopping in the form of supermarkets, convenience stores and discounters. With ongoing increased connectivity, access to different forms of connected devices and changes to shopping habits, the grocery channel landscape is expected to shift in favor of convenience channels at the expense of supermarkets. Surveys have found that shoppers are performing fewer of their main shops in supermarkets, instead opting for online or discounters, with the majority placing an order once or twice a month. As a result, physical stores are increasingly becoming a medium in which to pick up grocery items as part of a top-up shop.

Consumer approaches to online grocery shopping differ from conventional shopping: convenience and speed rank highest in terms of importance when buying food online. Increased connectivity has provided further avenues for online shopping, with more and more consumers completing their shop on smartphones and tablets, particularly in the case of the former. With more available functions and increased ease of use, smartphones are increasingly taking on more aspects of the grocery shopping experience.

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