Online food and grocery sales are expected to double over the next five years.

According to IGD research, the online food and grocery market is set to be worth £11.1bn by 2017, almost double its current value of £5.6bn.

The research also found that 44% of respondents expected to use the internet to buy their groceries in the next five to 10 years, while 58% of shoppers said technology helped them save money. Just over half (54%) said online shopping helped them save time and 46% of respondents said they would use the internet for shopping more if personalised promotions were emailed to them.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said changing technology would help drive this growth.

“Although online only currently represents 3.4% of the overall UK grocery market, it is the fastest growing sector – set to grow by a phenomenal 98% over the next five years,” she said. “Increasing smartphone and tablet use together with new 4G mobile technology, should boost online grocery shopping and allow shoppers to use all services retailers provide from in-store navigation to using QR codes to access recipe ideas.”

She added that younger shoppers were using their smartphones more often and that retailers needed to take advantage of this trend. 

“Smartphone shopping is certainly popular with young shoppers, with six out of 10 (57%) of under-35s saying they are already doing it or keen to do so,” said Denney-Finch. “Food companies need to view their websites as digital assets that not only sell groceries, but also add to the shopping experience through initiatives such as product reviews and ratings, or live chat with members of staff.”