A new survey has estimated the worldwide online grocery market at £3.5bn. According to market research specialist, Datamonitor, the sector is set to become the biggest business-to-consumer sector.
The report shows that the penetration of online sales into the overall grocery market remains small. In Britain, Internet grocery shopping accounts for just 0.4% of the market for food. In the US the rate is 0.33%, and in Germany and Italy it is 0.1% and 0.02% respectively. But web food shopping is forecast to grow rapidly. The Netherlands has the most developed market, but France is expected to have the highest growth rate in the next few months as national outlets like Carrefour, Auchan, Cora, Casino and Galeries Lafayette roll out on line services.
British shoppers use the Internet for their weekly food shop more than consumers in any other country – including the US. Tesco.com, an offshoot of the supermarket chain is the world’s biggest online grocer, according to the report, generating sales of $US310.6m.
The sector has experienced problems, particularly in the US where many businesses have exhausted their funding and had to be rescued by existing store chains. Webvan, the US market leader, has scaled back expansion plans.
Online top 10
Online sales 2000
|Ahold (incl Peapod & ICA)|
|Webvan (incl Homegrocer)|