Britons, according to a survey led by a supermarket chain Waitrose, do most of their grocery shopping online now in fear of contracting COVID-19 disease.
Online grocery shopping is now taking center stage as the health crisis continues to force retailers, as well as consumers, to adapt to the new normal. As for how Waitrose puts it, the trend’s speedy growth is “reminiscent of scaling Everest.”
Pandemic boost the shift to e-commerce
In July, the supermarket chain polled 2, 000 individuals around the U.K. And based on the survey, one out of four consumers now do online grocery shopping at least once a week to purchase food and other essentials.
Meanwhile, over three-quarters of Britons (77%) shop for their regular household goods using supermarket websites—a significant step up from last year’s 61%.
Those in the age group of 55 and above shop more online compared to younger consumers too. And unlike last year’s 8%, about a quarter of the group is seen making purchases through the web.
Moreover, an impressive rise was seen in folks belonging in the age group of 35 to 44 years old, too, with 32% of them now making more transactions digitally.
But despite it becoming popular, it is known that online grocery shopping was beginning to become a common shopping trend even before coronavirus spread across the world and accelerated it.
In a statement seen in The Guardian, Waitrose’s executive director James Bailey said:
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were few retailers that would not have predicted the continued growth of e-commerce 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.”
“Irreversible” shopping trend
The supermarket chain also pointed out the changes to be “irreversible.” In fact, in the same survey, 40% of the respondents said they will continue to shop online and will do more now.
“Because online shopping quickly becomes habitual, these changes are irreversible,” Bailey explained.
Separate research by Retail Economics also shows that the pandemic would have a lasting influence on consumers’ shopping behavior. It also said that the accelerated shift to e-commerce would be the biggest dilemma for retailers.
Retail Economics’ boss Richard Lim also told the BBC that the way consumers shop is “evolving at a frightening pace.” And if there is a single challenge that retailers are about to face, it is how to “meet, if not exceed, customers’ expectations.”
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