Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Picnic were the three biggest online supermarkets in the Netherlands in 2019, together taking up almost 90 percent of the market. This might not be a big surprise, as Albert Heijn and Jumbo are also the country's biggest food retailers. Picnic, on the other hand, is unique in the Netherlands in that it is an online-only supermarket. This start-up raised an investment deal of 100 million euros in 2017, and originally operated in the Amsterdam area before expanding to the rest of the country and the Dutch-German border area. The delivery service is especially popular among young people, with survey respondents ages 18 to 34 indicating they had used Picnic at least once in 2018 or 2019.
There were various reasons why consumers wanted to do online grocery shopping. Roughly 40 percent of the respondents taking part in a 2018 survey, for example, mentioned that they would buy their groceries online if delivery was for free. In a different survey in 2019, on the other hand, the main reasons to buy groceries online were to save time and not having to carry heavy bags. However, until 2017 most Dutch consumers said they were not purchasing food or beverages through online means at all. The most cited argument not to buy food online was that there was a supermarket already close to home. Another reason was that consumers preferred to check the product’s quality before purchasing.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak did change this pattern somewhat. During April and May 2020, Dutch consumers became increasingly open to online grocery shopping or purchasing alcohol online. In both cases, however, the majority of consumers still preferred to buy in-store.