Is online grocery shopping worth it? The choice of goods must be well thought out

The first cars of the originally German multinational network stopped in the streets of cities and towns thirty years ago. Now the yellow cars are headed to customers under the brand of the company’s sister company Family Market. Instead of making a regular weekly visit to the specified stops, however, people now order the assortment directly from their e-shop more often. “We deliver throughout the Czech Republic, from Aš to Županovice,” confirmed company representatives.

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They state on their website that they serve roughly fifty thousand active customers and their number is growing. In any case, the former “Frostáci” have become legends and Czechs remember them nostalgically. For the jingle, annoying for some, iconic for others, they came up with different slogans. For example: We bring you popsicles, we put them in your hand. Or: Do-sta-ne-te-an-gí-nu. And even: O-be-rem-vás-o-pra-chy.

It was an allusion to the higher prices of products compared to supermarkets. On the other hand, drivers with ice cream arrived at the customers’ residences.

As a child, Martin Daneš from Břeclav met a yellow car on a housing estate. “I remember the tune and the big packs of popsicles that weren’t available anywhere else. I didn’t think much about prices as a child,” he remarked with a smile. Iconic cars in Břeclav are seen only sporadically. Similar to Jana S., who commented regretfully on the company’s Facebook page. “They no longer come to us with products. It’s sad, we used to shop there a lot,” she wrote a few days ago.

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The loud jingle from Czech cities began to disappear after 2009, the new operators of the specialized network reported losses in the tens of millions of crowns in the following years. This inevitably led to changes in the business model, yellow trucks started bringing frozen food only to regular clients and for direct orders.

Regularly? One in ten

In a new era food delivery to customers’ doors retail chains and start-ups became dominant. Such as iTesco, or Koší The Rohlik Group is already active in foreign markets and the company is planning further expansion. According to the owner Tomáš Čupr, the customer appreciated the expansion of the product range beyond the classic supermarket, including drugstores, medicines and farm products.

According to economists and surveys, however, Czechs are conservative and still mostly go to stores and supermarkets to shop. “Approximately a quarter of Czechs buy groceries online several times a year. “Only less than ten percent of the population buys food online quite regularly, i.e. several times a week,” he told Deník economist Lukáš Kovanda.

According to his data, more than half of Czechs have never bought food online, a third do not even think about it. “Many Czechs have tried online grocery shopping, but don’t want to go back to it anymore. They are bothered, for example, by the additional payment for transport, the impossibility of choosing the goods by their own judgment, or the risk of not receiving what they ordered – that it will not correspond in quantity and/or quality,” added Kovanda.

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I prefer non-perishable foods

Share online grocery shopping according to him, it is only a percentage of the total volume of food purchases. Even the covid pandemic did not significantly and permanently increase this share. Although this is a growing trend worldwide, Kovanda does not expect a big boom in online grocery shopping in the Czech Republic in the near future either.

A survey by the consulting company KPMG Czech Republic showed similar results. Last year, they reported that 44 percent of respondents had the experience of buying food online, but 24 percent of them said that they no longer shop this way. “Online grocery shopping is growing, but not nearly as fast as many expected, even as a result of the pandemic. The share of those who have not yet tried shopping online and do not plan to do so is still relatively high, namely 32 percent,” pointed out KPMG partner Martina Štegová last year, responsible for retail.

Christmas shopping - Illustration photo

Loyalty cards, applications, leaflets and lists. Czechs began to think about their purchases

Online grocery shopping, according to the survey, remains primarily a matter of larger cities, households with higher incomes and the 25 to 44 age group.

The frequency of online shopping is not very high, a quarter of them shop this way only once a month. “Only six percent of respondents buy groceries online several times a week, another 22 percent once a week. The share of those who buy food online only occasionally, a few times a year, hardly changes and remains between 22 and 24 percent,” explained Štegová.

Most often, people buy perishable food online, least fresh fish. Only six percent of online shoppers expect goods to be delivered within ninety minutes of ordering.

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