Blog: Dean BestNavigating the "digital explosion"

Dean Best | 18 October 2011

Data out today (18 October) claimed that online grocery sales in the UK are set to almost double in five years but manufacturers and retailers have much work to do to benefit from the market's apparent potential.

UK industry analysts IGD forecast that online grocery sales will hit GBP11.2bn in 2016, compared to the estimated sales this year of GBP5.9bn.

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said a "digital explosion" is taking place in the UK, with online the fastest-growing channel in the country and more consumers set to shop online in the future.

However, almost half of all UK consumers that have bought groceries online are now lapsed and, at the IGD's Online Grocery Retailing Conference in London today, industry delegates were told what they could do to drive sales online.

Executives from Asda and The Co-operative Group to Google and Facebook discussed topics from the supply chain, the rise of mobile shopping and how social networks can help build brand awareness.

Online only accounts for 3.8% of grocery sales in the UK but, even in a channel still in very much in its early days compared to its traditional counterparts, the industry is keen to look to the technologies of the future. And the use of mobile was a key topic of discussion, with Ben Miller, head of shopper insight at the IGD, claiming the "real game-changer" for the sector "could already be in the palm of our hand".

More in-depth coverage will be on just-food tomorrow but, for news and views from the event, follow just_food and dean_best on Twitter.


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