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Tesco Scores Big as UK’s Online Grocery Shopping Surges

Britons spent 1.2 billion pounds (about $1.5 billion) online shopping for groceries between April and May, Reuters reports.
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The coronavirus pandemic has been perhaps the worst thing that could happen to the global economy. With millions out of work and businesses unable to operate at full capacity, various economic sectors have felt the pandemic’s pinch.

In the United Kingdom, however, the e-commerce industry has seen a boom in revenues as more people purchase items to sustain them while at home. One specific niche that has seen a surge is grocery shopping.

Brits Favor Online Grocery Shopping Over Physical Retail

Britons spent 1.2 billion pounds (about $1.5 billion) online shopping for groceries between April and May, Reuters reports. Citing data from market research firm Nielsen, the news medium explained that most Brits showed more proclivity to shop online across the period – especially when it came to purchasing groceries.

As the news medium’s data showed, the online grocery market share surged to 13 percent for May 2020 – up from 7 percent a year earlier. The same metric moved from 10 percent in April 2020. Nielsen also reportedly estimated that 7.9 million British households bought groceries online during the period – up from 4.8 million in the same period last year.

In total, online sales grew by 103 percent year-on-year. As for brick-and-mortar stores, they were able to record a 6.6 percent surge in sales collectively. While the lockdown forced people to visit shops less, those who did, spent 45 percent more than they did at this time last year.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK Head of Retailer and Business Insight, said, “Following over eight weeks in lockdown, UK shoppers are more accustomed to restricted living, and have adapted their grocery shopping habits to match.”

In the U.K., the biggest gainer was Tesco. The Welwyn Garden City-based retail giant saw sales soar 11.7 percent during the lockdown, while Sainsbury’s, ASDA, and Morrison’s saw growth of 11.0%, 5.7%, and 9.4% respectively.

A Global Boom for E-commerce

The results aren’t much of a surprise, of course. The coronavirus has proven to be perhaps the most transformative occurrence in the history of e-commerce, bringing in a boom the likes of which no one ever thought was possible.

Last week, Salesforce released its Q1 2020 Shopping Index. The index analyzed shopping activity from over a billion shoppers across34 countries, focusing on ten significant markets – the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germans, France, Spain, Australia/New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the Nordic region.

As the index showed, e-commerce revenue grew by an impressive 20 percent in Q1 2020, as opposed to 12 percent in Q1 2019. While digital commerce activity tracked 2019 trends for most of the year, the pandemic immediately brought a shift. In the last 15 days of the quarter alone, digital revenue spiked 41 percent.

The index also showed that web traffic to digital commerce sites grew by 16 percent in Q1 2020, compared to 2019. Shopper growth year-on-year hit 4 percent, while mobile e-commerce traffic grew by 25 percent across all industries. In the United States alone, traffic surged by 28 percent.

In the United States, firms like Amazon and Walmart have recorded considerable boosts in their online sales, with their stocks climbing to higher highs. At the same time, several retail companies – especially those on shaky footing before the pandemic hit – have been forced to declare bankruptcy and close locations.

With a timeline for return to normalcy just beginning to form, it’s getting more evident that the shopping landscape won’t be the same.

Based in the UK, Jimmy is an economic researcher with outstanding hands-on and heads-on experience in Macroeconomic finance analysis, forecasting and planning.He has honed his skills having worked cross-continental as a finance analyst, which gives him inter-cultural experience.He has a strong passion for regulation and macroeconomic trends as it allows him to peek under the global bonnet to see how the world works.