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Interest in online grocery rising among Australians

The number of Australians considering buying groceries online has risen by 800,000 to 5 million in the last year according to research from Roy Morgan.

The figure represents just under a third of Australian grocery shoppers.

Shoppers at the “big two” supermarkets are most likely to consider purchasing groceries online. Over a third of Coles shoppers (34 per cent) and Woolworths shoppers (34 per cent) would consider buying groceries online in the next year, while just 26 per cent of Aldi shoppers and just under a quarter of IGA customers (23 per cent) are open to this option.

Despite many showing an interest in buying groceries online, only a small proportion of customers are currently acting on this, with just five per cent of Woolworths customers and only four per cent of Coles customers buying groceries online in an average month.

roy morgan online grocery

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – December 2017, n=12,657 and January – December 2018, n=12,629. Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+.

“Despite the online revolution shaking up the face of retail in recent years the grocery and fresh food market has stubbornly resisted the convenience and value for money proposition that online retailing has used to disrupt many other retail categories,” Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, said.

“The market is there for the taking however thus far consumers haven’t been convinced by the online grocery services on offer. Just 4% of grocery shoppers buy their groceries online in an average month equivalent to about 600,000 Australians.”

Although the gap between interest in online grocery shopping and the follow through remains significant, Levine pointed to big developments in the Australian grocery and food markets with more to come.

“Amazon launched its online Australian food delivery service late in 2018 and German supermarket giant Kaufland is set to begin opening new supermarkets in Australia later this year. Kaufland also offers an online fresh food service in overseas markets. The marketing power and reach of Amazon is particularly important in driving this disruption as we have seen for over two decades.”

Levine highlighted the importance of Amazon’s decision to acquire Whole Foods and launch the Amazon Fresh grocery brand in the US using a “hybrid model of shop/home delivery online and shop/pick up in store”.

“The rollout of Amazon Fresh (which has yet to launch in Australia) could well in hindsight represent a ‘tipping point’ in convincing shoppers who may have been skeptical of online grocery shopping in the past to sample the experience for the first time,” Levine added.

Roy Morgan’s research is based on interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

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