British consumers have been increasing their usage of online shopping for groceries for close to two years, since the pandemic began in March 2020.
In fact, 52% of U.K. consumers are shopping for groceries online more frequently than they were before March 2020, while 7% are doing it less often and 40% do it about the same, according to What U.K. Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, a PYMNTS and ACI Worldwide collaboration.
There’s also been a pandemic-related change in U.K. consumers’ habits when it comes to visiting the store and paying there. Twenty-six percent say they do this less often, while less than 1% say they do it more often. Sixty-four percent say they visit the store and pay there about the same as they did before March 2020.
Today, 32% of U.K. shoppers prefer to shop for their groceries online. PYMNTS research found a broad disparity in how consumers pay for the five methods tracked. Sixty-three percent of consumers use a mobile device to buy groceries with a third-party subscription service, and 22% use a laptop or desktop, which is the widest disparity for any of the five purchase methods.
Two factors are most commonly cited for influencing this shift to online grocery shopping. Sixty-six percent of consumers in the U.K. report doing more online grocery shopping because it’s easier and more convenient, while 64% say they do it because they worry about contracting COVID-19 when shopping in stores.
Shoppers’ interest in buying groceries online for these reasons varies across different demographic groups. Seventy-four percent of Generation Z consumers cite ease and convenience as a reason for shopping for groceries online—a higher share than is seen in any other age group. Seventy-seven percent of baby boomers and seniors say their fears about contracting COVID-19 cause them to shop for groceries online — a significantly higher share than any other age group.