Over three-quarters of Brits now shop online for groceries

More than three-quarters (77%) of UK consumers now do at least some of their grocery shopping online, up from 61% a year ago, new research by Waitrose.com has found.

The report entitled ‘How Britain Shops Online: Food and Drink Edition’ has highlighted the extent to which customers have shifted to eCommerce to purchase groceries during Covid-19, with 60% of people doing so more frequently than before the pandemic struck.

This shift has been especially profound among consumers aged 55 and over, where there has been close to three-times the amount regular online shoppers (from 8% in 2019 to 23% in 2020). And among those aged between 35 and 44, there has been a doubling in the number who shop online at least once a week, from 16% to 32%.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults indicated that this move to online is likely to be sustained, with 40% of shoppers stating they will shop for groceries online more over the long term, while 25% intend to undertake bigger grocery shops online in the future.

Waitrose.com also observed a “huge increase” for speedy deliveries, a service which a number of grocers, including Waitrose, have rapidly expanded over the course of the crisis.

James Bailey, Waitrose & Partners executive director, commented: “Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, there are few retailers that wouldn’t have predicted the continued growth of eCommerce relative to physical shops. But what would have previously been a gradual upward climb in demand has - with the outbreak of Covid-19 - turned into a trajectory more reminiscent of scaling Everest. One in four of us now do a grocery shop online at least once a week - double the amount in 2019.”

The findings complement new research published today by IGD, which has forecast online will be the fastest growing channel for food and grocery purchases in 2020, and its share in this market will increase from 6.2% in 2019 to 8.9% in 2022.

Last month, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sharon White, outlined the group’s intention to become a “digital first” business in light of the pandemic.