Three-quarters of UK consumers use the internet for grocery shopping

Groceries are the third most popular category bought online, after travel and books

Almost half of all UK consumers look for grocery shopping deals online

Contact: Neil Beston, Tel: 020 3103 3959

LONDON – 6 November 2012 – Three-quarters (74 percent) of UK consumers use the Internet for household grocery shopping activity according to a study released today from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

The 2012 Nielsen Global Survey of Digital’s Influence on Grocery Shopping surveyed more than 28,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries.  In the UK, it reveals that saving money is a major factor why consumers go online for grocery shopping – almost half (48 percent) look for deals, 30 percent go to coupon websites and 25 percent compare prices.  Among those looking for grocery coupons, more than a quarter (26 percent) do so on a daily basis.

Britons are more likely to use the Internet for saving money on groceries than Europeans as a whole; 43 percent of Europeans look for deals online, whilst 22 percent look for coupons.

Popularity of buying groceries online

More than a quarter (27 percent) of online Britons intend to buy food and drink products online in the coming months – making groceries the third most popular category in the UK behind travel bookings (30 percent) and books, newspapers and magazines (28 percent).  Two years ago, groceries were the seventh most popular category.  Even today across Europe, groceries are still only the twelfth most popular category.

Grocery shopping research and time

Almost half (47 percent) of Britons online use the Internet for grocery research, such as checking a price or reading a consumer review.  Among this group, one in five (21 percent) does this every day.

Nielsen UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins: “Grocery shopping and the Internet go together like bread and butter for three-quarters of Brits.  It shows just how aware supermarkets and brands need to be about how it impacts their bottom line – not just in what products people buy, but the prices they pay and where they get them from.

“One in every 10 Brits online uses the web for grocery shopping research every day, while eight percent visit a coupon site daily for grocery deals.  The growth in smartphones and apps makes this easier than ever.  Retailers cannot ignore trends such as that.”

Nearly half (46%) of UK consumers who buy or research grocery shopping online say the Internet now accounts for at least one-quarter of their total online and offline grocery activity time; 27 percent say online now accounts for at least half their total grocery activity time.

What’s impacting grocery buying?

Over the last year, the rise in food prices has been the biggest factor determining what grocery brands and products Britons have purchased. This is followed by increased transportation costs (27 percent), health reasons and retailer loyalty programmes (both 21 percent). The availability of self-service checkouts has had a major impact on the grocery choices of 18 percent of Britons online.

Watkins continues: “Three of the four biggest factors impacting what people have bought over the last year relate to cost, which reinforces the price sensitivity of Britons when it comes to grocery shopping.  So, while much has been made about fitness and wellbeing in this, an Olympic year, British shoppers are as likely to make purchase decisions based on retailer loyalty programmes and the use of coupons and vouchers - available online or via their smartphones - as they are on what’s best for their health.”


About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey is conducted every quarter and polls more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The results in this release are from the spring 2012 wave, which focused on Digital’s Influence on Grocery Shopping. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behaviour of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit