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Germany's Digital Grocery Market Is Ripe for Expansion

But little sense that mass adoption is imminent

April 25, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

Online shopping for food and other grocery items hasn’t taken off in Germany to the same extent that it has in a leading market like the UK. But observers agree that the country is full of potential—and some retailers have already made moves to claim market share.

One of the country’s largest retailers, REWE, for example, has offered online ordering for some time, as has AllyouneedFresh. Crucially, Amazon has also announced plans to launch fresh food deliveries in Germany this year. Already one in five adult internet users in Germany has ordered groceries online, and a similar share of those who haven’t would consider doing so, according to February 2017 polling by YouGov.

However, YouGov found most shoppers weren’t ready to give up their local supermarket visits just yet—if at all. When it sought to learn what motivated respondents to shop—or not—for food online, there were several reasons why people hadn’t yet ordered groceries digitally.

Most still want to eye up groceries in person before buying to ensure they are fresh and undamaged—a point made by 70% of the adults surveyed by YouGov who hadn’t bought groceries online. About half (49%) of respondents said they didn’t trust the quality of goods offered on the internet, while 46% said that delivery costs were too high.

Also, 60% said they enjoyed going to the supermarket and wanted to stick with that habit. In addition, an unnamed percentage pointed out that grocery deliveries to digital buyers had an adverse effect on the environment.

Pro-digital shoppers had issues with online food shopping, too. YouGov found that shoppers who were interested in or already buying groceries online were more likely to complain that their preferred supermarket didn’t offer online ordering, or offered too few digital services.

Interestingly, YouGov reported that the largest single group of respondents who were interested in or had purchased food digitally—55% of the total—were women ages 35 to 44, suggesting that many deliveries are destined for family homes.

Karin von Abrams

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