Web shapes UK grocery habits

12 November 2012

LONDON: Nearly three-quarters of UK shoppers use the internet when considering purchases in the grocery category, according to Nielsen.

The insights provider polled 28,000 people around the world, and broke out results for the UK, where some 74% of respondents went online to undertake activities linked to grocery products.

"Grocery shopping and the internet go together like bread and butter for three-quarters of Brits," said Mike Watkins, head of retailer insights at Nielsen UK.

"It shows just how aware supermarkets and brands need to be about how it impacts their bottom line – not just in what products people buy, but the prices they pay and where they get them from."

Some 48% of British consumers utilised this channel to look for deals, above the 43% average in Europe. Another 30% of the former audience accessed coupon websites, versus 22% of the latter.

Elsewhere, the analysis revealed that 47% of the UK sample conducted product research on the internet, and 25% compared prices via this route.

“One in every ten Brits online uses the web for grocery shopping research every day, while eight percent visit a coupon site daily for grocery deals," said Watkins. "The growth in smartphones and apps makes this easier than ever. Retailers cannot ignore trends such as that."

When discussing purchases, a 27% share of the panel intended to buy food and drink products online in the next few months.

As such, the grocery segment constituted the third most popular ecommerce category on this metric, only falling behind travel on 30% and books, newspapers and magazines with 28%.

By way of comparison, groceries was the seventh most popular sector two years ago, and currently occupies 12th position across Europe as a whole, the study stated.

Aside from saving money, the main motivations for the choices made by British grocery buyers when picking products, online or offline, at present include rising transportation costs on 27%.

Retailer loyalty schemes and health reasons posted 21% here, while 18% pointed to the availability of self-service checkouts.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff