While their great success may have been dictated largely by the pandemic, it seems that online supermarkets are here to stay. It is no coincidence the investments of supermarkets in 2021, too, mostly concern improving their e-stores and the creation of the necessary infrastructure.
According to the latest survey by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA), conducted in early November, 25% of Greeks now buy their groceries online, compared to less than 2% in 2019. Consumers appear to choose their groceries both from the e-stores of the major chains and the online platforms that cooperate with many food stores, such as efood, Wolt, Box, Delivery.gr etc.
At the same time these very platforms are also gaining ground when it comes to hungry or thirsty Greeks ordering hot meals, beverages and sweets to be delivered to their homes. The IELKA survey showed that four out of 10 internet users use these platforms for that purpose, up from 13% in 2019 and 21% in March 2020. IELKA notes that the turnover of this section of the market exceeded 500 million euros in 2020.
The three main reasons consumers opt to buy their groceries online are to protect themselves against the coronavirus (71%), the ease of shopping (63%) and speed (41%), with the latter boosted by the faster deliveries the chains have achieved after the first shock of the spring lockdown, when delays would stretch for weeks in some cases.
Some 52% of consumers tend to choose the platform of the supermarket chain they usually shop from, while only 11% currently make purchases from online stores without a physical point of sale. This is another peculiarity of the food retail market that is hard to find in other markets. Twenty-one percent of consumers opt for platforms that cooperate with many food stores, a trend that only emerged last spring and has gained considerable ground.
The factors that are important to consumers when deciding which e-store to shop at are: free delivery (73%), quality of fresh and refrigerated goods (71%), speed of delivery (69%) and prices (also 69%). Click-and-collect services do not appear to be as popular for grocery shopping (just 38%).