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27% of UK households now do nearly all their shopping online

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Nearly half (45%) of the UK population shopped for groceries online at least once a week during lockdown, with 2.7 million more households shopping online almost exclusively compared to pre-lockdown, according to new research.

27% of UK households now do nearly all their shopping online

e.fundamentals, a digital shelf analytics provider, has revealed the results of a comprehensive and exclusive new survey in partnership with YouGov, which shows how the pandemic accelerated the switch from high street to ecommerce.

Commissioned to uncover how the coronavirus outbreak has changed the way shoppers purchase grocery products, the e.fundamentals / YouGov UK Shopper Insights Report 2020 was designed to find quantifiable evidence to explain widely observed consumer shopping trends in the British grocery market.

The key findings of the report demonstrate huge changes to the way shoppers purchase their groceries, despite relaxed lockdown and social distancing measures.

45% of the UK population shopped for groceries online at least once a week during lockdown. In the wake of COVID-19, the proportion of the UK population who now do all or almost all of their shopping online has risen by 59%, from 17% to 27%. This figure equates to 2.7 million more UK households shopping online almost exclusively compared to pre-lockdown. Higher-than-average income earners and those over the age of 55 have shown a disproportionately higher uptake in new-found online grocery shopping interest.

It’s important for brands and retailers to note that shopper trends are not a sole reflection of coronavirus-related apprehension and recommendations to stay indoors. The market will not revert after the crisis is over. Figures in the e.fundamentals report suggest that spending habits and shopper loyalties have changed at a fundamental level with wide-reaching implications. During lockdown, 46% of shoppers stated they spent more on eCommerce shops than they normally would. Further to this, 33% of all respondents to the study said they will shop online more than they did before, even once normality returns to the UK consumer market.

If lockdown was the catalyst for increased interest in online grocery shopping but is not the reason for its continued popularity, what is? The e.fundamentals report points towards accessibility and availability of products. 52% of respondents tried new products and brands when shopping online, while 75% stated they’d simply switch to a different brand if their preferred choice was not available.

The data presented in the report offers valuable insight for brands and online retailers looking to optimise their sales and marketing strategies in the fast-paced environment they are now operating in. It also highlights how brands can no longer afford to put off optimising their sales performance for the digital shelf. Pre-COVID omnichannel roadmaps are becoming irrelevant, with digital sales starting to dominate the retail market.

Recommendations documented within the report, following analysis of e.fundamentals own database, promise to build a critical and accurate awareness of shifts in shopper interest and trends, helping brands to define their sales strategies moving forward.

John Maltman, e.fundamentals’ Chief Executive comments: “Online shopping is here to stay with key implications for consumer packaged goods brands and retailers forcing change in order to make their digital shelf a business priority. Brands can no longer afford to postpone focus on their online performance.”

For a full list of recommendations and shopper trends including preferred category items and tactics for digital shelf optimisation access the e.fundamentals / YouGov UK Shopper Insights 2020 report.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2065 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 2nd July 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Category insights are based on e.fundamentals’ own database.


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