The days of heading to the supermarket are over for some Brits, as they trade trolleys for home delivery. That was the opening sentence on a press release from Mintel about its online shopping report.
The press release went on to say that online tills are ringing loudly with sales forecast to reach £9.8bn this year, up 13% on last year. And what is more, they’re expected to climb to £15bn by 2020.
It may sound like depressing news for traditional bricks and mortar retailers but it’s not for all of them. If I take myself as an example, I do shop for online groceries but only the bulky, heavy stuff which for Mr West and I is typically beer and Diet Coke. I have lost count of the number of times the delivery drivers have asked if we’re having a party. I may add a bit of petfood in the mix, some cans of baked beans and some toilet rolls but never anything chilled or fresh. I leave that for trips to proper shops both supermarkets and convenience stores when I can choose exactly what I want.
I thought I was being rather adventurous recently when I added a French stick to my Ocado order but when it was delivered, someone had put it at the bottom of the box. So it was squashed but also it was rather rubbery. Thankfully the driver credited my account but even so, it was a disappointment.
As for chilled lines, I am a retailer’s worst nightmare as I am always rummaging through the shelves looking for the products with the longest dates on them. And often they’re not the ones at the back!
It seems I am not alone with regard to not ordering fresh stuff online. Mintel’s research found that 38% of people who are shopping for groceries less online, or who have stopped shopping for them online altogether, said it was because of lack of control over choosing fresh products. It’s a difficult one because we are all different and one person’s idea of a delicious looking piece of fruit isn’t always the same as another’s.
Anyway, according to Mintel, there is still a large number of people who have never bought groceries online and have absolutely no interest in doing so.
There’s no doubt that shopping online can be convenient, but it’s never as good as going into a ’real’ shop, where you can touch, prod and poke to your heart’s content.