Online grocery sales in Britain set to surge permanently following the lifting of coronavirus lockdown.
That's according to a study by Ensono, an IT services provider specialising in retail, which says that social distancing measures will have a long-lasting impact on the shopping habits of the consumers, and many people will prefer purchasing groceries online after the lockdown lifts.
The survey reveals that nearly 22 per cent of consumers who had never shopped online for groceries are now doing so.
Moreover, the percentage of consumers doing at least 50 per cent of their grocery shopping via the internet is also expected to increase from under 20 per cent to over 30 per cent.
Alarmingly for bricks-and-mortar stores, this pattern looks set to stay. Almost four in 10 survey participants in the age group 35-44 said they would prefer doing at least half of their grocery shopping online.
Most shoppers appear satisfied with major supermarkets for their intensified efforts to serve millions more consumers as fears of catching coronavirus have driven demand from vulnerable shoppers.
Earlier this month, Tesco said that it has doubled its number of delivery slots to 1.2 million in six weeks. Other brands, such as Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose and Iceland, have also significantly increased their deliveries in recent days.
Fifty-eight per cent of the survey participants agreed or strongly agreed that the major supermarkets have been quick to restock, and 55 per cent said that supermarkets have done a great job in hiring quickly more staff.
The lockdown also seems to have helped major supermarkets to improve their brand image among consumers. Nearly 33 per cent of buyers said they now trust major supermarket brands more because of their response to the coronavirus crisis.
Just 12 per cent of the survey respondents said they don't trust supermarkets.
Earlier this month, a study by market analysts Kantar revealed that online grocery sales in the UK grew to account for 10.2 per cent of the grocery market in the three months to 19 April, up from about 7 per cent previously.
"Long-term, grocery shopping behaviours won't return to their pre-coronavirus 'normal'," said Barney Taylor, Europe MD, Ensono.
"New online grocery buying habits have become cemented, and business as usual has changed for good. For grocers, the need to innovate and transform to achieve a great online customer experience is now even more of a priority."
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