The report profiles grocery shoppers in four European countries: The Netherlands, UK, France and Germany, based on interviews with 250 consumers who recently bought groceries online. Growth may be strong, but only 8% of the total EU population ordered groceries online at some point last year, compared to 5% in 2009. However, there are big differences among countries and demographics.
The report found that those aged 20-49 were the biggest online grocery shoppers – and many of the younger consumers in this bracket are yet to reach financial maturity. The market research organisation flags this demographic as one to watch in the coming years.
“So far, the British have been the early adopters of online grocery shopping in the EU, with 22% of the total population buying groceries online,” the report said.
Denmark is in second place at 12%, followed by the Dutch at 11%. The French market, at 9%, is the fastest growing online grocery market, up 400% in four years.
Packaged foods are much more popular among online shoppers than perishable goods, with beverages bought by 55% of consumers, followed by dairy (42%) and canned and jarred goods (42%).
“Consumer preference to feel and touch fresh product before buying them might drive this trend,” the report said.
What drives consumers online?
Distance from their nearest supermarket does not seem to be a driver of online shopping. The market researchers found that 58% of those surveyed lived in urban areas, and 62% of online shoppers could reach their favourite physical grocery store in 10 minutes or less.
Consumers see the flexibility of 24-hour shopping as the number one advantage of online grocery shopping, while delivery costs are the biggest downside. In fact, delivery costs may make or break a potential customer’s decision to shop with a particular retailer, while other important factors include product range and product pricing – the same factors that most influence a consumer’s decision to shop at a particular supermarket.
While most online grocery shopping still takes place on PCs and laptops (59%), 28% of those surveyed said they used smartphones, 26% said they used tablets, and 13% said they used mobile devices as well as PCs or laptops.
“In 2013, 92% of EU online purchases were done on PCs and laptops, while tablets and smartphones accounted for only 3% and 5% respectively. However, this will change in the coming years,” the report said. “The use of smartphones and tablets will continue to grow in popularity and will account for 8% and 5% of all online purchases by the end of 2014.”