British online supermarket Ocado expects the online share of the overall grocery market to continue growing, even when the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, its boss said on Tuesday.
According to market researcher Nielsen the online share of British grocery sales hit a record 16% in January, up from 8% in the same month last year, driven by increased demand during the country’s third lockdown.
“We suspect it’s likely to continue growing,” Ocado CEO Tim Steiner told reporters.
“Historically, we’ve always seen when customers have done this three to five times they tend to stick with it, so it’s likely that it will just keep growing,” he said.
Successive UK lockdowns and the switch to working from home has seen the online grocery market double in size to 14% of the UK total since the start of the pandemic. Retail sales at Ocado, which delivers Marks & Spencer groceries, jumped 35% to £2.2bn.
Investors are closely watching the progress being made by Ocado Solutions, which sells its grocery-picking expertise to foreign supermarkets and has been likened to the “Microsoft of retail”.