Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

More Australians buy alcohol online than groceries, with still less than 1 in 50 people clicking products into a virtual supermarket trolley each month, the latest Roy Morgan Single Source e-commerce data shows.

Last year, just 1.9% of Australians (around 357,000) did some supermarket shopping online in an average four week period, up from 1.6% (294,000) in 2012. However, 2.2% of us (426,000) buy alcohol online, although this is only up 0.1% point since 2012.

% Australians who bought groceries or alcohol online in an average four week period:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2012–December 2013, average annual sample n= 20,058 Australians aged 14+

35-49 year-olds are the most likely to buy alcohol online (3.0%), and are also more likely than the average Australian to buy alcohol over the internet (2.9%). Those aged 25-34 are the most likely to buy groceries online (3.2%) but just 1.8% of them buy alcohol.

Comparing the age demographics of the two markets reveals a marked dissimilarity. 1 in 2 online alcohol buyers are aged over 50, however this group comprises just 24% of online supermarket shoppers. The reverse is true of 25-34 year-olds, who make up over double the proportion of grocery buyers (30%) than they do alcohol buyers (14%).

Composition of each market by age bracket:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013–December 2013. Samples: n = 335 Australians 14+ who bought groceries online in the last four weeks; n = 428 Australians 14+ who bought alcohol online in the last four weeks.

Warren Reid, Group Account Director – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Intuitively you would think the supermarket industry—being more than five times the size of the alcohol industry—would have more online customers, but that is not the case. The grocery industry rakes in over $95 billion annually from around 12.5 million customers, compared with almost nine million alcohol buyers spending $17 billion a year.

“Both Coles and Woolworths have been trying to build their online operations for more than ten years. But despite internet usage and online shopping becoming mainstream, online supermarkets still attract only a tiny proportion of grocery shoppers.

“One challenge for online supermarkets is that there are two very dissimilar customer types most inclined to buy groceries online and have them delivered to the door: stay-at-home mums with young children, or high-earning professionals and managers.

“The key to online success for both Coles and Woolworths will be to extend the appeal of website ordering and home delivery to a wider customer base of people for whom regular online grocery shopping could be a valued convenience rather than a necessity.”

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332
W: www.roymorgan.com


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