Number of people buying groceries online surges

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More people than ever before are shopping for food online with an extra £1.2 billion forecast to be spent doing the groceries via the internet this year.

A new study reveals that supermarket shopping is over for many Brits as they trade trolleys for home delivery.

The research by consumer analysts Mintel shows that 29 per cent of UK online grocery shoppers are shopping for their groceries more online now than 12 months ago.

Online tills are ringing as a result, with internet grocery sales forecast to reach £9.8 billion in 2016 - up 13 per cent from an estimated £8.6 billion in 2015.

And sales are forecast to grow a further 73 per cent to reach £15 billion by 2020.

But not everyone is deserting the shops with around one in four people (24 per cent) having never bought groceries online and having no interest in doing so, rising to 38 per cent among the over 55s.

And one in nine UK online grocery shoppers (11 per cent) are actually doing so LESS now than 12 months ago.

The study shows online-only grocery retailers are particularly benefiting from sofa surfing shoopers, with sales increasing 110 per cent from £1.1 billion in 2010, to an estimated £2.3 billion last year.

Overall, online shopping accounts for six per cent of total grocery sector sales in 2015, up from just three per cent in 2010.

Just under half of Brits (48 per cent) are current online grocery shoppers. One in nine (11 per cent) do all of their grocery shopping online, with a further one in eight (12 per cent) doing most of their grocery shopping online.

And it is younger shoppers that are shunning trips to the supermarket.

Around one in five 25 to 34-year-olds (19 per cent) now do all of their grocery shopping online, with 36 per cent of the same age group shopping for groceries online more often now than 12 months ago.

The main reason people cited for shopping online more is convenience (60 per cent) followed by online shopping allowing them to keep better track of how much they’re spending (33 per cent), and the wider variety of delivery slots available (32 per cent).

Nick Carroll, retail analyst at Mintel, said: “The online grocery market continues to grow in double digits, but

remains small in the context of the wider grocery market.

“However, the shift away from superstores to more convenient shopping channels is certainly benefiting the market with the majority of consumers now doing some grocery shopping online.

“Almost a third saying that they now shop online more than a year ago.

“The majority of online shoppers still mix online shopping with store-based shopping, but consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable shopping at online-only retailers with growth outpacing the total market.”

More than a third of those who are shopping for groceries online less said it was because of the lack of control when choosing fresh products.

Mr Caroll added: “The lack of control when selecting fresh food and drink products remains one of the biggest issues for online grocery retailing and not one that is easy to address.

“All of the major players now offer some form of freshness guarantee but this is still not a substitute for picking your own.”