Survey unearths ‘shopper frustration’

Growth in UK online grocery sales slowing down

In the UK, the growth in online grocery shopping is slowing. It is slowing amid consumer frustration about order problems and delivery charges, figures suggest.

The number of Britons who shopped online for groceries dropped from 49% to 45% between 2016 and 2018, with 63% saying they had experienced an issue with an order in the past year, a survey for analysts Mintel found.

Last year online groceries in the UK hit £12.3 billion, up 9% from 2017, and made up 7% of total grocery retail sales. Over the next five years, online grocery is forecast to account for 10% of all grocery shopping, with sales growing by 60% to reach £19.8 million in 2023, Mintel said.

While younger Britons are still enthusiastic about having groceries delivered, middle-aged and older shoppers are increasingly reluctant to do their supermarket shop online, the poll indicates. While just over a third (35%) of those aged 45 and over report buying some groceries online, the number who have “never bought groceries online and have no interest in doing so” has grown from 34% in 2015 to 42% in 2018.

The poll showed the most common reason why consumers do not shop online is that they prefer to choose fresh products themselves (73%). There are however also concerns around high delivery charges (24%) and minimum spend (18%).

According to, almost two-thirds (63%) of online shoppers have experienced an issue with their order in the past year, with 26% finding they were missing products, 25% suffering incorrect product substitutions and 24% receiving items that were out of date or had a short shelf life. A further 20% had received damaged goods and the same proportion had received a late delivery.

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