Consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts that the online grocery market will grow globally from US$36 billion in 2013 to US$100 billion in 2018. Today, 39% of shoppers buy groceries online at least once in 3 months. This number has been increasing steeply in recent years, and is going to grow fast and steadily, as the digital natives – the Millennials and the generation after them – grow older and start having families of their own. In the future, blending online and offline shopping will be new normal.
Great opportunities in emerging markets
A recent research by Nielsen on global grocery shopping preferences reveals that online grocery shopping is already common, at least in some regions. More than one third (37%) of respondents from Asia-Pacific regularly do their shopping online. The figure is even higher in China, where 46% of people say they use an online ordering and delivery service. Click and collect and virtual supermarkets are also very widespread. Although the e-commerce penetration is high, there are still many untapped opportunities. 60% of people who do not yet shop online in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa/Middle East say they plan to use e-commerce sites for their shopping in the future.
Amazon, Google… and you?
The market is still fresh and growing, and new and old dynamic players are entering the race. Amazon Fresh is now delivering fruits and vegetables straight from the farm to people’s homes in selected US cities. Google Express is following suit. In September 2015 the company announced plans to start delivering fresh fruits and healthy foods at people’s doors in selected locations. Instacart, the startup delivery service that partners up with grocery stores, was named one of Forbes’s most promising companies of 2015. Supermarkets should not waste time, and enter the online market now. In order to succeed, however, it is important to understand what customers want.
So why do people shop for grocery online?
Although some people enjoy going to the supermarket and looking for products, many others do not like doing the shopping. A Deloitte research revealed that people especially dislike shopping for food because it is time consuming, stores are crowded and the queue at the checkout is slow and boring. Many also dislike the inconvenience of having to drive to and from the store. A Hartman Group report confirms that most people do their grocery shopping online purely for reasons of convenience: to save time, to save money and to avoid having to drive to the store. How can you create a successful e-commerce website, tapping into grocery shoppers’ desire for convenience and speed? Stay tuned for the second half of this two-part blog, where we are going to give you some key tips to build an effective online shopping portal.