Southern Europe discovers online groceries

Southern Europe discovers online groceries

With the Covid-19 lockdown in action in Southern Europe, consumers in Italy, Spain and France are quickly discovering online shopping. More and more retailers are going online to sell their stuff, while an increasing number of consumers are ordering their groceries and products online.

In France for example, there’s Ollca, a startup that helps local butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers to sell their products online. Over the past three days, sales on the marketplace had been as high as during the Christmas period. The online platform also added 20 new vendors.

Online orders in France grew 32%

A study from Nielsen Research estimates that online orders for home delivery in France has increased 32 percent year-on-year in the first week of March, while click-and-collect orders grew 29 percent during the same period.

In Italy, which is under lockdown since 9 March, the number of online customers of supermarket chain Carrefour had doubled to 110,000, the Financial Times reports. There are also 10 times more Carrefour deliveries through logistics start-up Glovo, which delivers products within 30 minutes in some Italian cities.

The number of online customers of Carrefour Italy had doubled.

El Corte Inglés sees increase in demand for large freezers

And in Spain, some consumers are expecting they will need to stay at home for quite some time, and they have thus changed their shopping behavior. The major department store El Corte Inglés says there’s a big increase in demand for products like fridges, large freezers, children’s toys and smart TVs. “People are making these orders online out of necessity, or out of health concerns”, FT cites the group. “So customers who previously were perhaps uncomfortable with ordering online before can now see the advantages of doing so.”

Customers are starting to see the advantages of shopping online.

Still problems with online shopping in Southern Europe

With the major shift to online, the problems that exist in ecommerce aren’t gone. The Financial Times says websites have been slow and orders have failed at checkout. Retail store chain Esselunga had restricted orders in Milan to one per week. And due to a large number of people shopping at the physical Mercadona supermarkets in Spain, the company has stopped taking online orders in most of the country.

Low ecommerce penetration in Italy and Spain

Italy and Spain have one of the lowest rates of ecommerce penetration in Europe. Whereas in the UK, ecommerce accounts for about 20 percent of total retail revenue, in Italy and Spain it’s about 4 and 5 percent respectively.

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