Supermarket success or not so much?

Along with the amazing NHS staff and all the other front-line workers, supermarkets have to be (in my opinion) hailed as one of the unsung superheroes of the last year. No matter how “locked down” we were, our supermarkets were always there to help keep us fed and hydrated.

Due to quarantine, isolations and general fear of catching the virus, many people could not physically visit the supermarkets to pick up the necessities. So, the supermarkets upped their game and provided contact-free delivery in quantities never seen before. Retail-week reports that Tesco now offers more than 1.5 million delivery slots a week with Asda and Sainsbury’s delivery slots following closely behind (1 million and 850,000). Morrison’s have seen the largest expansion, as delivery availability increased fivefold on top of their partnerships with Ocado and Amazon.

With more delivery slots available, that meant more jobs required for drivers and pickers, so when people found themselves furloughed and laid off from their previous jobs, the supermarkets were there to provide employment. In fact, an article written in August 2020 stated that at least 136,000 people were hired by the biggest supermarkets since the pandemic began in March that year.

Let’s not forget about the partnerships with Uber Eats and Deliveroo too. Aldi, M&S and Co-op being a few of the places available from Deliveroo meaning you still had another option if you were not able to get a delivery slot on the big supermarket websites. They’re also perfect for those late-night cravings or the midweek panic when you’ve drank all the milk!

Reports by Kantar found that customers spent an extra £15 billion on groceries compared to before the pandemic, resulting in sales growth for most of the major supermarket chains. However, the record sales surges were not enough to stave off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For supermarkets, the pandemic effects were seen in the additional costs of implementing social distancing measures, hiring temporary staff and acquiring the necessary PPE to keep everyone safe.

Supermarkets, like Aldi, that were unable to meet the online shopping demand also suffered during the pandemic. However, as the vaccine rollout continues, there appears to be a temporary stall in the online shopping demand meaning that Aldi are now seeing its first market share gain since the pandemic began.

Where does that leave us now?

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts has said that the growth in online shopping during the pandemic “represented the biggest shift in grocery in 20 years” and believes it is a “permanent shift in the fact that more customers will shop online.” Conversely, Kantar has found that more of the vaccinated customers (within the over 65s age group) have been returning to supermarkets.


Will you be keeping your online delivery slot for good, or are you looking forward to returning to your weekly supermarket visit?


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