Coronavirus boosts online retail sales, supermarkets benefit strongly

Hello Fresh grew strongly during the pandemic. Photo: Deborah Ferraz
Hello Fresh grew strongly during the pandemic. Photo: Deborah Ferraz

The Netherlands’ biggest online retailers boosted their turnover 45% during the pandemic last year but the top seven in the ranking remain unchanged from 2019. is top of the new edition of the Twinkle100, followed by domestic appliance and electronics seller Coolblue and then supermarket group Albert Heijn. According to the Twinkle100, Albert Heijn’s online sales rose 80% last year to €1.2b.

Jumbo, in 7th place, booked 44% more sales while online supermarket Picnic is now 8th in the ranking. Ready to prepare meals firm Hello Fresh, has moved up from 20th to 10th place.

Even though supermarkets were allowed to remain open during the lockdown, their clients would appear to have discovered online food shopping in a big away, retail expert and Groningen University professor Laurens Sloot told broadcaster NOS.

‘Last year, food sales accounted for 7% of online sales, compared with 3.5% in 2019,’ he said. ‘There is a bit of a drop at the moment, largely because older people who have been vaccinated are daring to visit shops again.’

Nevertheless, online supermarkets are still not profitable, he said. ‘All the systems are loss-making, but no-one wants to miss out so they don’t pull the plug. Sales are expected to rise to 10% in 2025 and 15% by 2030. Supermarkets are gambling on eventually being able to pass on the delivery costs, or charge slightly higher prices for internet sales.’

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