After months of having no internet, I am back online. Hallelujah!
Thanks to my smartphone, I’ve had access to the internet wherever I could log in to WiFi (I drank a LOT of café con leche during this time!) so I’ve not been completely in the wilderness. But it’s just not the same as being able to Google the theme tune lyrics for the Beverley Hillbillies at 3am because you’ve forgotten the middle part and know you won’t get to sleep till you remember! There are also the practical applications like online banking and shopping which, for some of us, means the dreaded supermarket shop can be a thing of the past.
According to new research from Mintel, 14 percent of Brits nowdo all of their grocery shopping online, a figure that’s doubled since 2014. Their forecast is that online grocery sales will reach £11.1 billion in the UK in2017. Almost two thirds (62 percent) of Brits aged 25-34 are current online grocery shoppers.
The demand from younger consumers is pushing the supermarkets to provide same day deliveries (I mean after all, you can order a pizza and have that delivered in thirty minutes or less!)
The retailers are also aware that these younger consumers are shopping via their smartphones so they’re tailoring their apps to best interact with them.
It makes sense to appeal to the younger demographic as only one in three consumers over the age of 55 (32 percent) currently shop online. Of those, almost half have never shopped online and have no interest in doing so.
Before moving to Spain, I lived in a small village and the nearest shop was a car drive away. I did about half of my grocery shopping online as it often worked out cheaper than paying the petrol price for the return trip.
I can’t say I found it a pleasurable alternative though. It probably took me just as long to find the things I wanted online as it would have to walk round the store.
And don’t get me started on the substitute products that they sometimes bring! You try explaining to your fussy cat that they’ve swapped the only food she’s eating this week for a 12 pack of something she’s not (leading to a drive to the nearest town before the hungry/indignant mewing drives you mad!)
The downside of this is that we’re in danger of turning food shopping into just another app for our phones.Consumers have an expectation that they can have whatever they want whenever they want.
With current research showing 47 percent of us give up because the checkout process took too long, we are now too impatient to even wait in a virtual queue!
In the UK, grocery shopping is just another thing to fit into an already hectic schedule. In Spain, I have fallen in love with food again and now, my grocery shopping might take an entire morning as I amble round the market and catch up with the butcher in my best Spanish.
While for me this is infinitely preferable to a packed supermarket or frustrating keyword search, I realise that I’m fortunate in that I have the time for it.
Online grocery shopping is convenient and there’s definitely a place for it, but there’s nothing beats choosing your own soft, fresh-baked baguette or gently squeezing to find the juiciest tomato or perfect pear within the display.
Mmm, I’m off to the panaderia -see you next week!