Sainsbury’s comes out on top in online grocery wars

Sainsbury’s delivered more groceries over 2020 than any of its supermarket rivals despite reporting an overall loss, communications watchdog Ofcom has revealed. 

The grocer transported shopping to 20.6 million customers in April 2020, the first full month of lockdown, which increased to 23 million by the end of the year. 

It saw the steepest climbs in demand during the spring, when e-commerce increased to almost a fifth of its business, and around the second lockdown in autumn. 

Online sales leapt by 119 per cent overall, though they were not enough to offset the £485 million it incurred in coronavirus costs. 

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Sainsbury’s closest competitor in online sales was Tesco, its Big 4 rival, which saw a high of 16 million customers in the spring dwindle over the following months. 

It was closely followed by Asda, with Aldi, Waitrose and Ocado flagging behind. 

Marks and Spencer did not feature on the Ofcom analysis, reflecting the grocer’s slow pivot to e-commerce and disappointing partnership with Deliveroo. 

It reached a £750 million delivery deal with Ocado in September last year. 

Overall, online food and drink sales grew by 82 per cent over 2020, driven by grocery and takeaway deliveries. 

The “take-out” pack was led by Just Eat, which saw its annual revenue increase by 45 per cent to £652 million. 



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