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How fast is supermarket shopping shifting online?


And as Woolworths, Coles and ALDI fight for customers, how can you keep saving?

It's no surprise that a year of COVID-19 restrictions have seen Australians take up online shopping for their groceries in increasing numbers.

New research from Finder underscores just how quickly that change has happened.

Since the pandemic began, 33% of Australians have begun doing some of their grocery shopping online.

That's 6.4 million people who are now taking advantage of online services from the major supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles, as well as online rivals such as Amazon and eBay and meal package and food kit delivery services.

The biggest switch in habits has happened in New South Wales, where 43% have switched, followed by Victoria (31%). That aligns with the highest population densities -- online delivery options are broader in bigger areas -- and also with the states where lockdowns have run for the longest. (Confirming that, the change is much less evident in Western Australia and South Australia.)

Have you started grocery shopping online since the pandemic began?
No, my grocery shopping habits have stayed the same60%
Yes, I now do some of grocery shopping online19%
Yes, I now do most of my grocery shopping online14%
No, but I am thinking about doing it soon7%

Source: Finder survey of 1,015 respondents, July 2021

We haven't yet reached the point where online shopping is dominant, and that change is likely years away. But it's clearly becoming a more regular part of the mix, and not just because of current necessity. Amongst switchers, 86% said that online shopping was more convenient and efficient than hitting the store.

Regardless of whether you shop online or offline, the money-saving techniques remain much the same. These are my tried-and-tested top tips:

  • Shop with a list and a meal plan. That might sound obvious, but it makes all the difference. Plan what you need to eat, and then your list is all the ingredients you need, plus any household supplies you need to top up. This approach means fewer impulse buys and wasted money.
  • Track the specials. Coles and Woolworths both start their weekly sales on Wednesdays, but make the catalogues for that week available online at 5pm AEST Monday. Check out what's on sale that week, and plan accordingly. If your favourite is half-price, that's the time to stock up.
  • Earn points - and convert them. Coles shoppers can earn flybuys, while Woolworths fans get Everyday Rewards. While both offer $10 off when you've earned 2,000 points, that's not the best deal. Convert your flybuys to Velocity Points or Everyday Rewards to Qantas Points and you'll easily get $20 or more value by using them for flights.

Which supermarket comes out on top? Check out our Woolworths versus Coles comparison.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more.

Picture: Angus Kidman

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