Supermarkets’ online bonanza

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?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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