Bitkom: online food retailing barely reaches new customers

Bitkom: online food retailing barely reaches new customers

Grocery shopping online is treading water with minimal growth, according to a study by digital association bitkom.

Whereas 28 percent of users in germany bought groceries online in 2016, two years later the figure is just 29 percent. The association emphasizes that satisfaction with the door-to-door service is high. A good third of respondents (35 percent) also said they could well imagine buying food or drinks online in the future.

The survey showed that there is still little demand for fresh foods in particular. In contrast, confectionery (52 percent), ready meals and canned foods (41 percent), foods for vegan diets (29 percent) and gourmet specialties (27 percent) are in decline. Meat and sausage products (25 percent), dairy products (22 percent) and fruit and vegetables (21 percent), on the other hand, ranked significantly lower.

The association sees the "achilles’ heel" in the fact that such services, which are aimed primarily at users in large cities, have not yet been widely distributed. However, as awareness grows, sales in online food retailing are also likely to rise, estimates bernhard rohleder, chief executive of bitkom.

Innovative logistics solutions that enable delivery, for example, even when the customer is not at home, such as smart-lock systems, would be particularly helpful. Such solutions could help "cut the gordian knot".

However, 64 percent of respondents said they generally prefer to see, smell, touch or test food before buying it. In addition, a majority of 56 percent have more trust in bricks-and-mortar retail, while 53 percent have doubts about the quality of the goods. As many as 38 percent of those surveyed also cited the cost of delivery as a reason for not buying the product. However, there is no reason for stationary retailers to cannibalize themselves online, said rohleder.

Overall, however, online shopping has gained acceptance among the population. Those who don’t shop online simply don’t have access to the internet, reports bitkom. 97 percent of respondents said they had already bought something online in 2018. This corresponds to 80 percent of the population aged 14 and over and a total of 56 million people in germany.

A trend toward mobile shopping can be identified here. 50 percent of respondents now use their smartphones for this purpose, compared with 20 percent in 2014. The challenge for suppliers is therefore increasingly to adapt their offers optimally to the small displays, said rohleder. Customers see the greatest value in the low price (83 percent), the payment options offered (65 percent) and free delivery (62 percent).