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Online Groceries-Who Benefits

Online shopping is slowly taking over as the preferred method for many people and, as companies develop their systems and services, the growth is likely to continue.

Author: Charlotte Rivington
Date: Feb 22, 2012 - 12:05:50 PM

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Online shopping is slowly taking over as the preferred method for many people and, as companies develop their systems and services, the growth is likely to continue.  Shopping online for groceries has been one area of rapid growth, although for some consumers it’s been a bit of a love-hate relationship.  The idea is great, but the actual practicalities can leave something to be desired.  Some improvements have been made and it’s often the smaller suppliers that can provide the best service.  Suppliers of the ‘veg box’ often work from one small local farm or a group of farms, offering good value and convenience.  Unlike some of the larger suppliers, these tend to offer excellent quality produce as they are keen to build and retain regular customer bases.  But is shopping for groceries online for everybody and who can benefit?

The Young Family

The 22 - 44 year old age range accounts for the biggest group of online shoppers.  When it comes to online groceries there seems to be a direct relationship between families with young children and online grocery shopping.  The thirty something age group, in particular, is fond of shopping for their groceries online.  The main advantage to families with young children is probably the time saving factor that it offers.  Most mums - and plenty of dads - are familiar with that increasing sense of dread as the weekly shop approaches.  It’s bearable if it can be completed alone, but generally it has to be fitted in around work and school.  This means a fraught trawl around the local supermarket accompanied by a chorus of complaints and unexpected additions to the trolley.  Shopping online for groceries is, understandably, becoming the method of choice for this particular group.  

Other age groups

The biggest growth age group, in both internet use in general and online grocery shopping in particular, is the 50-65 age range.  There’s a certain amount of suspicion in some members of this group, but many have used the internet and computers at work and are more comfortable with the technology.  According to SAGA, the over 60s age group is the least likely to use the internet; in this age range only around 20 per cent have ever been online.  When it comes to online groceries this is one age group that the industry needs to consider.  Especially in the winter, older people or those with mobility problems, could benefit significantly by shopping online for groceries.  The advantages of home delivery are obvious and the costs are often competitive - helping those on a budget to manage their weekly shopping bills effectively.  The big draw back for this group may be the delivery charges on small orders, but this is one area that is being tackled by that most traditional delivery service - the Great British Mil
kman (and woman).

Old fashioned service

The advantages of online groceries via your local milkman are potentially greatest for this older age group - but online grocery shoppers of any age may be surprised at the service.  Having diversified from the traditional pint of milk and occasional yogurt into a full range of daily essentials, groceries and even the ‘new-fangled’ veg box these services are now vastly improved.  Online ordering is available, with late cut off times in the evening.  Next day delivery, very early in the morning, is standard and there are no delivery charges for even small orders.  Traditionally milkmen have been a local, familiar face who offers a point of contact for older people, who may feel isolated.  With the new services on offer it seems that friendly face is here to stay.  If you have an elderly relative who could benefit, now may be the time to introduce them to some silver surfing - you might even learn a thing or two, yourself!

Online food shopping has become increasingly popular with busy, younger families.  But for pensioners and those on low or fixed incomes recent development in the world of online groceries, veggies and fruit boxes could prove to be a life-line.  

View all articles by Charlotte Rivington

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