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Online grocery shoppers tuning out


Shopping for groceries may be the future of the supermarket industry but new research suggests consumers aren’t entirely happy with the experience so far.

A quarter of those who’ve tried buying food online have given up on it, says a study from U.K. research firm Consumer Intelligence.

Several reasons were citied for shoppers’ dissatisfaction. Chief among them: the web doesn’t allow people to handle and touch the food they are buying.

But there were also complaints about the high prices, mishandled food, and the habit online grocers have of arbitrarily substituting products if the one the customer wanted isn't in stock.

The report warned online grocers not to take their customers for granted. And it concluded that shoppers will switch to another grocer if they find the prices are less.

“Our findings show that online grocery providers cannot rest on their laurels,” Ian Hughes, managing director of Consumer Intelligence, said in an article published in the Daily Mail newspaper.

The paper also cited Consumer Intelligence data showing that in the U.K. Tesco is the most popular online grocer with 32% market share, followed by Walmart’s Asda chain (30%), Sainsbury (25%), online-only grocery Ocado (24%) and Waitrose (22%). But it added online grocers are still struggling to turn a profit.

Those findings come on the heels of another report by IGD that suggested a tipping point for online grocery shopping is about to be reached. IGD said it expects grocery sales to double in value in the next five years in the United Kingdom.

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