UK online grocery has exploded tenfold since start of pandemic

FMCG ecommerce growth in the UK has exploded tenfold since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic amid “one of the most exciting times for ecommerce in Europe”.

According to new data from NeilsenIQ online FMCG sales are now growing 11 times faster than offline sales in the UK, seeing growth skyrocket from nine per cent pre-pandemic to 91 per cent.

Nielsen suggests that ecommerce grocery sales have expanded so rapidly during the pandemic, that it is no longer a question of if people will buy online, but how much they’ll spend and how often they shop.

Online FMCG sales reportedly accounted for more than €30 billion in the big five European countries alone in 2020.

The UK staggering growth in online sales, which comes ahead of many of its European counterparts, is largely due to its ecommerce penetration.

READ MORE: 24-hour supermarkets disappear as online grocery boom shifts priorities

In the UK and France, ecommerce penetration was estimated to be around 48 per cent in late 2020, significantly more than the 20 per cent penetration seen in Germany and Italy.

“As we’ve seen in other regions around the world, while online sales are skyrocketing, there’s still room for growth—particularly in food,” NielsenIQ’s managing director for Western Europe Jens Ohlig said.

“Issues we used to see as barriers, like the ability to select fresh foods yourself, have eased since COVID-19 pushed us into restricted living. Things that used to be barriers to entry aren’t as strong anymore, and we’re seeing that in our e-commerce measurement.”

“It’s really one of the most exciting times for e-commerce in Europe. And we’re very pleased to help retailers and manufacturers navigate this next stage, using our superior and expanded coverage of this channel. We’re just at the beginning of the next stage of e-commerce in Western Europe—the time to make critical decisions confidently with great data is now.”

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