Millennials are behind Europe’s online retail boom, says Mintel

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Bet_Noire
© iStock/Bet_Noire

Related tags Online grocery Supermarket

Young Europeans are fuelling the growth in online grocery shopping across Europe, according to new data from Mintel.

Young Europeans aged 16 to 24 are much more likely to use the online retail services of supermarkets that have physical stores than the national average.

Almost half (45%) of German Millennials said they had shopped online in the six months prior to Mintel’s survey, compared with only 31% of Germans overall.

Avoiding the stress of shopping is one of the main driving factors behind the rise of online across Europe, closely followed by saving time. Between a third and a quarter of German, Italian, French, Spanish and Polish young people agreed that buying food online takes less time than going to the supermarket.

According to Mintel food and drink analyst, Regina Haydon, Europe’s online grocery market is still in its infancy outside of the UK market.

“But it is growing fast as young consumers increasingly opt for the stress-free and time saving convenience of online shopping,” ​she said.

“More and more retailers and speciality players are pushing into the channel to stay connected with the younger generation, promising a bright future for the online market at a time when connectivity and on-demand are playing an ever more important role in youth culture.”

One of the main barriers for many Millennials is concerns over the quality and freshness of groceries bought online. Half of German shoppers aged 16 to 24 say they do not shop for food online for this reason, rising to 51% in Poland, although this is less of a concern for Spanish (41%), Italian (39%) and French (30%).

Even greater numbers of Spanish and Italians (62% and 49% respectively) say they don’t like the fact that online shopping means they cannot select product in person.

Germany lags

According to data from Euromonitor, online retail in the UK saw a 24% increase between 2010 and 2015, rising to 5.1% of packaged food retail distribution. This was followed by France which doubled its e-commerce presence over the same period to hit a 3.8% market share, while Germany lags behind with 0.5% although this grew 67% over the past five years.

Haydon said: “Online grocery has had a tough start in Germany, which is owed in part to the country’s particularly high density of food stores and the dominance of discounters Aldi and Lidl, who have little incentive to push high-cost deliveries considering their already thin margins.”​ 

However some hard discounters have begun to test the water on online retail. Aldi, for instance, has begun to sell cases of wine online to UK consumers. 

Related topics Retail & shopper insights