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The Global State of Online Grocery in 2017

August 2017

Online grocery has been of interest to many retailers and food brands for a long time, but it is an industry that is just starting to get hot. With legitimate concerns over the cost and consumer trust, it is worth looking at just how developed the service is now. After broadly outlining the basics of how online grocery works and who it is for worldwide, this report will dive deeper into each region, outlining the current state of the industry along with its most active markets and companies.

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There are relatively consistent customer demands and corresponding profiles

The last-mile problem has yet to be really solved for food. Grocers in this space mostly bake those costs into the model and eventually, the price. Therefore, online grocery so far is largely for people that put a premium on convenience. This includes affluent families that shop for larger baskets and time-pressed urbanites that need items immediately but can’t be bothered going to the store.

For everyone else, it is still too expensive or unproven

For many, online grocery it is still too pricey, which means that figuring out how to keep the price down is a top priority. This is partly why click-&-collect holds the most promise. However, it is also a category which people just are not used to buying online yet. Building up the trust needed so customers rely on someone else to shop for their own fresh food will take time and effort.

Scale and volume should be the focus, even if it means relying on multiple models

Volume is the most important metric in this business because it engenders efficiency and drives down costs for everyone. The more methods of delivery and pick-up people have access to, the more likely the service will appeal to more people. Smart players will focus on increasing access as part of a larger platform.

If you cannot bring the cost down yourself, you have to work with others or find customers that are not price-sensitive

Some of the smartest companies that are trying to solve the high-cost issues of online grocery are those that are spreading the pain around. Forging partnerships to split the cost of delivery and investment has proven to be a good strategy. This allows costs to be spread across online and offline channels. The less these partners make shoppers pay, the better.

The best in the business have been going at this for years

It has taken companies years to build the infrastructure and goodwill needed to run online grocery profitably. It took the leading pure player in London 15 years to do so. This means that the window is closing on becoming a leader in this space. Thankfully, technology can fast-track go-to-market strategies these days.


The online grocery game has just begun
Key findings

The Basics of Online Grocery

There is a clear user profile
Online grocery shoppers in three more charts
The online grocery customers of the future
The mix of multichannel models in online grocery
The mix of pure play models in online grocery
Amazon’s multichannel grocery presence
Amazon’s Pure Play grocery presence
Online grocery’s biggest problems: Cost
Online grocery’s biggest problems: User experience
Online grocery’s biggest problems: Omnichannel relevance

Current Retail Strategies

Leveraging scale to create significant advantage
Forming partnerships to split the cost of delivery
Starting business relationships to build e-commerce infrastructure
Building businesses that solve specific problems

Regional Insights

Asia-Pacific: Regional Overview
Asia-Pacific: Key Countries
Asia-Pacific: Key Companies
Western Europe: Regional Overview
Western Europe: Key Countries
Western Europe: Key Companies
North America: Regional Overview
North America: Key Countries
North America: Key Companies
Australasia: Regional Overview
Australasia: Key Countries
Australasia: Key Companies
Eastern Europe: Regional Overview
Eastern Europe: Key Countries
Eastern Europe: Key Companies
Latin America: Regional Overview
Latin America: Key Countries
Latin America: Key Companies
Middle East & Africa: Regional Overview
Middle East & Africa: Key Countries
Middle East & Africa: Key Companies


Who will be the online grocery winners of the future?
The online grocery game is a long one


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