Tesco leads the way in online confectionery sales, but it's still low

Shaun Weston3 Oct 2013

© Idle Type

The latest Online Shopper Intelligence report from Kantar Media Compete reveals that only 12% of the seven million online grocery shoppers in the UK visit a confectionery related page online, and just half of those actually buy any confectionery online.

With nearly all adults (91%) in Kantar Media's TGI survey claiming to purchase confectionery, these findings highlight an opportunity for confectionery manufacturers to improve their online retail presence and, consequently, sales.

Of the three leading supermarket websites, Tesco.com attracts the highest number of confectionery shoppers, with 59% visiting the supermarket's confectionery section. This is 42% at Asda.com and 19% at Sainsburys.co.uk.

Tesco's share of confectionery buyers is also 13% higher than its share of total online grocery purchasers, making it clear that they are more effective at attracting confectionery shoppers and converting those shoppers to buyers. Asda and Sainsbury's websites have lower shares of confectionery purchasers.

The research also reveals substantially differing shopping behaviours across the three websites. Internal search is a popular tool with confectionery shoppers on Tesco.com and Asda.com, with 38% and 25% using it respectively. While only 4% of confectionery shoppers on Sainsburys.co.uk use the search bar, most of them (67%) search for branded confectionery products compared to 39% who search for unbranded search terms such as chocolate, sweets, mint or gum. In contrast, 62% of visitors to Tesco's and Asda's online stores are more likely to search for unbranded terms, while 58% look for their favourite branded product at Tesco and 53% at Asda.

"With so many forces driving total online shopping frequency, impulse categories are set to grow," said Kantar Media Compete's client services director and report author Sandy Livingstone. "But at the moment, confectionery is harder to find online and easier to miss if it's not on the shopping list. There is a huge opportunity for confectionery manufacturers to make a greater appearance in online grocery baskets.

"Sites are currently so transactional that it's not surprising to find special offers driving confectionery purchase. Yet, retailers and manufacturers could gain from working together to develop a more tailored and shopper-centric approach. This could include intercepting traffic at the right stage to serve a more impulse-friendly product assortment, tailoring promotions to the type of shopper at each store, or looking specifically at how they search for confectionery items."