The UK’s online grocery market will expand by a third in 2020, according to projections by Mintel, and will be worth £17.9 billion by 2024. Moreover, the changes to consumer behaviour brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, are likely to be long-lasting. UK consumers are expected set to spend £16.8 billion on internet groceries in 2020, up from £12.7bn in 2019. This comes after growth had been slowing down since 2015, reaching just 2.9% in 2019.
The Mintel survey was carried out between 28 February and 23 April, and found that 36% of British consumers reported increasing their online shopping, with 50% trying to limit the time they spend in bricks-and-mortar stores and 9% using click-and-collect more frequently.
Nick Carroll of Mintel said, “Over the course of just a few months, Covid-19 has had a seismic impact on Britain’s grocery sector. The pandemic is giving a significant short-term boost to online grocery services, as shoppers look to avoid stores and limit their contact with the outside world. However, the impact will last beyond the crisis. While there is currently a significant disruption to the online grocery market, with some retailers not accepting new customers, this will ease in the short term as more capacity is brought online.”
However, when the data is analysed in closer detail, different patterns emerge. Just 28% of the country’s over-65-year-olds had made online grocery purchases before the current health crisis, while 37% report having done so subsequently. Many consumers rely on the kindness of friends and family, with 24% of under-44s helping friends and family and/or neighbours with their shopping.