Online grocery buying surges 15 per cent in two years

Global online purchases of packaged and fresh groceries have risen by 15 per cent since 2016, according to Nielsen.

The 2018 Nielsen Connected Commerce Report analyses consumers’ buying habits all over the world. Broadly, it found that, as confidence in online grows, so too does the range of categories in which consumers buy. One of these categories is fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), which includes groceries.

Key findings

  • 95 per cent of global consumers who are online have now made an online purchase – up one per cent from 2017 and two per cent from 2016.
  • 26 per cent of digital consumers purchased fresh groceries online – an increase of 15 per cent between 2016 and 2018. This segment is contributing to overall growth in FMCG online commerce, which Nielsen estimates rose by about US$70 billion ($96 billion) globally in the past two years.
  • The “stalwart” online categories of fashion, travel and books continue to make up the largest proportion of online transactions: 61 per cent, 59 per cent and 49 per cent of consumers, respectively, bought within each of these categories.

The categories posting the most significant growth include:

  • Restaurant deliveries – up two points from last year to 33 per cent of online consumers.
  • Packaged groceries – up three points to 30 per cent.
  • Fresh groceries – up two points to 26 per cent.

‘Significant jump’ in online FMCG

“From tracking the e-commerce evolution in pioneering countries like South Korea, where online sales now account for a staggering 20 per cent of the total FMCG sector, we know that consumers follow a certain pattern of online shopping behaviour,” Pete Gale of Retailer Services at Nielsen said.

“Travel, fashion and books are typical categories for first-time online shoppers. But as their familiarisation, comfort and trust levels increase, their category repertoire expands into areas such as beauty, personal care and baby products.

“It then moves even wider afield to packaged and fresh grocery categories. This is evidenced in the significant jump we’ve seen in online purchasing within grocery and food delivery in recent years.”

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