In new findings by Roy Morgan research, 31 per cent of grocery buyers would consider purchasing groceries online in the next year.
This is up by over 800,000 people from a comparable study from a year ago.
Woolworths and Coles customers are the shoppers most likely to consider switching to an online shopping experience within the next year, the latest report finds.
The study revealed 34 per cent of Woolies and Coles shoppers are keen to shop online and avoid the busy Sunday arvo grocery dash.
However, smaller chains are less likely to lose their customers to the online forum.
Just over a quarter of Aldi customers (26 per cent) and less than a quarter of IGA customers (23 per cent) would consider buying groceries online in the next year.
Although millions of respondents acknowledge an interest in buying groceries online, only a small share of customers currently do online grocery shopping.
In an average month, just 5 per cent of Woolworths customers and only 4 per cent of Coles customers buy groceries online.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said: “Despite the online revolution shaking up the face of retail in recent years the grocery and fresh food market has stubbornly resisted the convenience and value for money proposition that online retailing has used to disrupt many other retail categories.
“This is not because consumers aren’t interested. Over 5 million Australians would now consider buying groceries online in the next 12 months – just under a third of Australian grocery shoppers.
“The market is there for the taking however thus far consumers haven’t been convinced by the online grocery services on offer. Just 4 per cent of grocery shoppers buy their groceries online in an average month equivalent to about 600,000 Australians.”
Coles has admitted that they make almost no profit with online sales as order fulfillment and delivery cuts into profit.
Coles CEO Steven Cain is exploring ways in which they can turn their slowly increasing online sales division profitable, with the use of AI, order fulfilling robots and revolutionary software.
Whether we see a shift from the industries prized in-store browsing, inevitable grab of add-ons and in-store dazzling displays that marketers bank on is yet to be seen.
With more and more industries shifting to the digital realm, and digital giants such as Amazon set to take on and expand the food delivery service within Australia, the future is unpredictable.
Although the gap between interest in online grocery shopping and the follow through remains significant and has persisted for several years, there have been significant developments in the Australian grocery and food markets in recent months and there are more coming.
Levine added: “Amazon launched its online Australian food delivery service late in 2018 and German supermarket giant Kaufland is set to begin opening new supermarkets in Australia later this year. Kaufland also offers an online fresh food service in overseas markets.
“The marketing power and reach of Amazon is particularly important in driving this disruption as we have seen for over two decades.
“Amazon’s decision to acquire American fresh food retailer Whole Foods and launch the new Amazon Fresh grocery brand in the United States using a hybrid model of shop/home delivery online and shop/pick up in-store is a new way to think of grocery shopping for many.
“The rollout of Amazon Fresh (which has yet to launch in Australia) could well in hindsight represent a ‘tipping point’ in convincing shoppers who may have been skeptical of online grocery shopping in the past to sample the experience for the first time.”