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Woman shopping online

Three out of four Brits now buy groceries online

Woman shopping online

Three out of four Brits now buy groceries online

In findings it describes as “reminiscent of scaling Everest”, UK supermarket Waitrose has revealed that 77% of us are now buying at least some groceries via supermarkets’ websites.

The chain’s survey of 2,000 people shows a dramatic increase from the 61% of online supermarket shoppers recorded this time last year, and although Waitrose says that the figure was set to rise anyway, the growth has been sped up by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The main driver of this acceleration has been the over-55 age group, in which almost three times as many people are now buying groceries online. Tellingly, though, there is also a significant rise within those between the ages of 35-44, suggesting that people with young families and elderly relatives are also benefiting from the convenience of online food shopping.

Waitrose’s online arm Ocado said in July that it believed the mid-lockdown boom in online shopping would permanently change the landscape of grocery retail, and this instinct appears to be backed up by a separate study by Retail Economics and telecommunications giant O2.

Richard Lim of Retail Economics describes the online surge as “the biggest threat to retailers”, and the study’s revelation that almost half of consumers say the pandemic will permanently alter their shopping habits is a warning to the sector that it needs to adapt to customers’ needs and preferences.

As someone who fits into the aforementioned 35-44 age group, I certainly fall into the portion of people looking to change how they shop. One thing I have not missed during lockdown is traipsing around supermarkets, and I have found that the convenience and flexibility of online shopping is well suited to my lifestyle. This need not be limited to major supermarkets either, with independent providers of fresh produce potentially among those who stand to benefit most from new shopping habits, as we’ve discussed previously.

Big or small, what all retailers need to take advantage of during this shift is a reliable, attractive and easy-to-navigate website. If you’re looking to make your site more suited to online retail, why not speak to us at Engage Web?

John Murray

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