Online grocery shoppers a lucrative market: research

If you shop for groceries online and think you’re saving money, you may be in for a shock.

Online grocery shoppers a lucrative market: research

If you do the bulk of your grocery shopping online and believe you are saving money by avoiding impulse purchases, you may be in for a shock. And don’t forget those delivery fees, as one YourLifeChoices member warns.

Australians who shop for groceries online are far more lucrative customers than those who shop in-store at Australia’s two major supermarkets, according to Roy Morgan research.

In 2018, shoppers who bought groceries from Woolworths Online spent an average of $186 a week compared to only $103 for those buying from Woolworths ‘bricks and mortar’ stores.

The research noted that the big difference in spending patterns was driven by women, who spend far more on average via the online outlet than the physical store. Women who buy groceries from Woolworths Online spend an average of $194 a week compared to an average of only $106 for women buying groceries from a physical Woolworths outlet.

The same pattern was true for men but at a much lower rate. Australian men buying groceries from Woolworths Online spent $126 in an average week compared to $98 in a physical store.

The same trend was evident for Coles, with grocery shoppers spending more at Coles Online in an average week ($158) than at a Coles ‘bricks and mortar’ store ($97).

Once again, it was women who spend at a greater level than men – an average of $171 per week online compared to the average of $104 spent by men. At physical outlets, the average weekly spend was $99 for women and $96 for men.

Increases in the cost of online grocery deliveries has raised the ire of YourLifeChoices member Carolyn.

She wrote recently that Coles had raised its delivery prices, which would “seriously affect many seniors”.

“It would be a good PR move to give seniors and the disabled/housebound (who have concession cards) a special and reduced rate,” she said.

A Coles spokesperson did not comment on the possibility of free deliveries for some sections of the community but did say: “Coles Online adjusted some of its delivery fees in response to an increase in demand for home delivery at certain times during the week.

“Fees for high-demand delivery periods such as between 6am and 9am on weekday mornings and 2pm to 5pm have been increased, as well as premium services such as same day delivery.

“Fees for delivery from Tuesday to Friday in six-hour windows, eight-hour windows or overnight Drop&Go are unchanged. For people who are home during the day, these are good options.”

Coles advised that customers can still access free delivery by:

  • choosing Flexi Free delivery for a delivery slot within an eight-hour window when spending $150 or more
  • choosing overnight Drop&Go delivery when spending $150 or more
  • choosing Click&Collect from available Coles supermarkets when spending $50 or more.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says online grocery shopping has been slow to take off in Australia, but is likely to increase:

“Although a recent Roy Morgan release concentrating on the interest and adoption of online grocery shopping revealed only four per cent of Australian shoppers buy their groceries online in an average month, the interest is clearly there among many Australians. In 2018, over five million Australian grocery buyers (31 per cent) expressed interest in buying groceries online in the next year.

“The added convenience of being able to place an order from the comfort of one’s own home, or even while on the move via a mobile phone, is clearly an attractive proposition for some grocery shoppers who may be time poor.

“These stunning results show that some consumers are more than willing to pay for the convenience of online shopping and also suggests consumers are willing to place larger orders than they would in-store, given they will have the goods delivered to their door without having to cart the purchases around themselves.”

Are you a regular online shopper? Do you manage to get your deliveries for free? Do you believe you spend more when you shop online than at a store?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Apr 2019
    As a single senior, I wonder where these figures you mention come from. I spend between $60-70 a week at my local Coles. I have a healthy diet with fresh fruit, veggies, dairy, and meat or fish, most days. Like most 77 year old I don't have a big appetite, and enjoy a meal at my local club one a week.
    22nd Apr 2019
    I am a regular online shopper at Coles. I buy my main grocery shop once a fortnight, usually on pension day. I don't have much alternative, as I don't have a car and can't physically carry many groceries. I rarely buy splurge items; I carefully purchase from a shopping list and from the handy function of what you have purchased before. I am on a medically-prescribed diet so have to buy slightly more expensive items. Unfortunately, I find that items such as salad greens and Asian greens often come from Coles way past their best. I have to use them up quickly or throw them up - in which case I would phone and ask for a credit. The other purchase which can be a surprise is meat. It is packed so tightly it's impossible to tell - once out of its airtight wrapping you might find it thinner at one end and thus doesn't cook uniformly. The sudden increase in delivery fees recently was a shock. Sometimes I lower the cost by choosing one of the cheaper delivery slots. But it stresses me to wait around for hours on the cheaper time slot and hope the driver can find my home; this is harder in winter when it gets darker. I still have to go to my nearest supermarket (also Coles) to pick up the green vegetables or items not delivered in the main shop (I say don't choose alternatives for me, because of the medical diet). A couple of times I have shopped online from Woolies but find the website not as convenient to order from.
    22nd Apr 2019
    If you have Coles MasterCard delivery is free. Another way to save is watch for half price goods but this may not always suit you with your medical needs. However, things like washing powders and dish washing liquid etc would be okay most likely.
    22nd Apr 2019
    Difficult to score the, sometimes very good, on the spot bargains on-line.
    22nd Apr 2019
    I don't shop Coles online because they do not deliver, but I do shop Woolworths online every month or so and stock up. The reason people spend more online is simply to make use of the delivery fee's, free delivery offers if you spend a certain amount and also with Woolies if you spend more your delivery fee drops. So there research does not mean a thing. A lot of women with kids spend more time shopping online because they can shop when the kids are asleep. Also when you shop instore you do not want to carry so much home at once. I just recently tried Amazon buying Australian products and you get free delivery if you spend $49 but you do need to check prices as some things are more expensive but not by much. I also shop many other wholefood online stores and make use of free delivery offers, when you sign up for their emails you get the special offers.
    22nd Apr 2019
    musicveg, Coles don’t deliver? Are you somewhere remote that that is the case.
    We have ours delivered from Coles.
    Woolworths is handy for click and collect for us but not for delivery because we won’t pay a fee.
    22nd Apr 2019
    Yes unfortunately Coles do not deliver in my area and Woolies does, but I have no complaints against Woolies, they do a great job and if you are not happy they refund. I tried click and collect, my closest Woolies is 40 minute round trip and tried it when I was going there anyway but the wait time was unbelievable getting my order, so easier just to go into the store and shop.
    22nd Apr 2019
    I have been a Coles online shopper for 4 years and just love it, the fresh food is always fresh, I know when my groceries will arrive early in the morning so I can arrange my day around this.
    I save on average $50-100 a fortnight by not impulse buying, I like “ bought before” as I usually buy a lot of these items. I shop fortnightly for my husband and I.
    No looking for a car park, pushing a heavy trolley to the car and then lugging it into the house.
    By the time the groceries have arrived and hubby unpacks them to get out away it’s all done in 15 minutes.
    I shop a week before the order date and if I run out of items I just modify the order I can do this a few times.
    Online grocery shopping is wonderful for the housebound as well as mothers with small children.
    Hubby and I are both in our 70’s.
    I swear by it.
    22nd Apr 2019
    We do too! Our deliverers unpack ours onto the bench.
    Much is saved because we wait for the half price to come around and then purchase whether we are out of stuff or not.
    Sometimes, on a $100 order we have saved nearly that much.
    It is a way to build your order and reflect on it and then go in and alter it as much as you like which I tend to do lol. A modern, way to shop!
    Great for oldies and infirm and people with babies etc.
    ray @ Bondi
    22nd Apr 2019
    this is not accurate as most people will maximise their order due to the delivery fee, a person is not going to spend $50 then another $10 on delivery. I have been reading about the fantastic discounts available through the self serve section, it is almost enough to make me a criminal hahaha
    22nd Apr 2019
    On-line shopping, no thanks. I like to see and choose what I buy. While I am capable of in-store shopping I will stick to that. However I acknowledge that there are persons for whom on-line shopping is a distinct advantage. Why cannot we have both without rancour. I suggest the delivery fees should be compared with the cost of getting to a bricks & mortar shop to determine any savings by shopping on-line.
    25th Apr 2019
    I am an irregular online shopper using pick up at my local store. This is great while I'm still working full time. I do it when my staples are running low. Advantages are time saved when I'm feeling too tired to bother, there are often online only specials, time to change my mind about impulse buys. Disadvantages are items are sometimes left out of the order - this is fixable, but a nuisance, I end up with plastic bags for the cold and frozen foods.

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