Australia lagging behind online grocery shopping

Just 12% of Australian consumers use e-commerce services to order groceries online and have it delivered to their home – 13 percentage points lower than the global average of 25%, and well behind the Asia Pacific average of 37%, according to the latest Nielsen Global E-commerce and New Retail Report. Despite this, more than half (55%) of Australian consumers say online order and delivery is a service they are willing to use.

 
An even smaller number of consumers are using the “Click & Collect” services that retailers like Coles and Woolworths readily offer for grocery purchases. Just 5% of Australian consumers say they order groceries online and pick them up using a drive-thru service. However, more than half (53%) are willing to use this option in the future.
 
“The Australian landscape and lifestyle is more complex to other markets, with many consumers living a reasonable distance from retail stores and many not being at home to accept grocery deliveries,” said Megan Treston, a Director in Nielsen’s Retail Industry Group. 

“Advances in technology are providing greater flexibility for shoppers, and offers like click and collect and, more recently, bundles to overcome individual delivery fees are introducing new ways to overcome barriers for online grocery shopping. The delivery fee bundling offer is very exciting and we’re watching this space closely.”
 
Nielsen’s Homescan Shopper Panel data shows that online represented 1.9% of all grocery sales in Australia for the year ending 13 June 2015, and growth is substantial; up by 29.3% for the year.  
 
There is a similar trend to growth in online grocery shopping when looking at dollar growth by key department (see below); signaling that online is vital to boosting growth in a relatively stagnant grocery market. The exception to this is Health and Beauty, which is a high involvement category and also faces intense competition from the likes of department stores, pharmacies and other online beauty retailers.
 
Treston says: “The retailers who will win the most of this prize are those that will leverage technology to enhance the existing shopping experience and meet consumers’ evolving desires with a trustworthy service and by offering real convenience. Consumers are ready for it, so retailers should meet that openness to technology.
 
 “As smartphone ownership and usage reaches saturation point in Australia, mobile commerce opportunities will also thrive and contribute to strong growth of digital grocery sales. We recently predicted the online channel will be responsible for over $1 billion of sales growth the industry is likely to see over the next five years, and this research shows an existing appetite that is waiting to be nurtured if consumer needs are accurately met, “said Treston.
 
“Retailers and manufacturers can add value by providing digital tools to help consumers take control of their shopping experience while also increasing sales potential. Mobile in particular can tip the scales in favour of increased shopper control, empowering them to shape the shopping experience more than ever before. Introducing digital strategies into the in-store experience is not just a nice-to-have—these options can increase dwell time, engagement levels, basket size and shopper satisfaction,” she said.