Kimchi at your door

Imagine you’re on the subway during morning rush hour. Now you’re off the train, streaming with the crowd toward work… simultaneously perusing and ordering groceries while barely breaking your stride. If you’re at one of South Korea’s virtual supermarkets, you can do just that.

Originated by Tesco in 2011, Homeplus markets are light-box displays of product photos, arranged as if on life-sized store shelves with QC codes that shoppers scan and then schedule for delivery.

They’re found in subway tunnels and other locations. Commuters can order while en route and have groceries delivered when they get home at night.

Embracing convenience, South Koreans are prime consumers for this type of shopping. They work very long hours, are high credit card users, and enjoy excellent Internet penetration.

In fact, South Korea has the highest percentage of online grocery shopping in the world, according to Kantar Worldpanel1. Nearly 20% of groceries are purchased online there.

Grocery e-commerce is increasing sharply elsewhere as well. The second highest e-commerce food shopping rate is in the UK and Japan, both with 7.5% of groceries purchased online. Next highest is China, with 6.2%   The rest of the top 10 for percentage of e-groceries are France, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, the U.S., and Italy.

Millennials are very comfortable with mobile commerce, and are the majority users of digital food shopping platforms. In general, certain conditions lend themselves to a favorable online grocery market. High population density helps, as does that population’s access to fast, reliable Internet. Labor costs are a consideration – for shoppers/baggers and delivery people.

Here is a selection of online grocery options in some of the top countries mentioned above:

South Korea:
FatbagEZ Shop KoreaiHerbFrance Gourmet, Homeplus

Ocado, Amazon Fresh, and grocery stores like ASDA , Sainsbury’s, Tesco , and Morrisons

Amazon Fresh
,  Honest Bee, Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, Tokyo Central

Epermarket, Fields China, Hema (Alibaba), Yihaodian