ATHENS – Being locked down twice in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, Greeks hit the supermarkets and online food sales hard, seeing sales jump 262 percent and leading the businesses to expand their services.
Both smaller supermarkets and big chains are adding to their product categories with specialties aimed at keeping people coming to the stores that have seen fewer customers allowed because of health measures, and otherwise to turn to online orders for deliveries.
The biggest, Sklavenitis, waited to go online but did so just before the pandemic struck a year ago and now will do so in Greece’s
Market leader Sklavenitis, which went online for the Athens area just before the outbreak of the pandemic last year, is expected to expand its delivery service to Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, said Kathimerini.
This year the company will also start offering a click & collect service, allowing customers to collect their online orders from the store nearest to them as do more of its rivals and add more clothing, toys, furniture and electronics.
Its biggest competitor, Rival AB Vassilopoulos, which has long experience in online commerce, has also boosted investments as its sales grow and, unlike Sklavenitis, also offers customers cards with discounts for future buying.
AB Vassilopoulos is also going to pour 10 million euros ($12.07 million) for a home shop center and guarantees two-hour deliveries for many orders.
Mymarket is also offering rapid delivery after supermarkets were so overwhelmed in 2020 it could take weeks to get food orders delivered, people reluctant to go to markets.
Galaxias is also planning to launch an e-store in the first half of the year, while Masoutis, which already has an e-store, recently proceeded with the creation of a digital transformation department.
According to the latest survey by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA), conducted in early November 2020, some 25 percent of Greeks now buy their groceries online, compared to less than 2 percent the year before.
Consumers appear to choose their groceries both from the e-stores of the major chains and the online platforms that cooperate with many food stores, such as efood, Wolt, Box, Delivery.gr the paper said.
Growing attached to delivery, more people are also ordering hot meals, beverages and sweets to be delivered to their homes. The IELKA survey showed that four out of 10 internet users did so, the turnover in 2020 going past 500 million euros ($603.66 million.)
Most people say they buy groceries online to avoid going to to the stores and face exposure to other people, wanting to reduce their risk to COVID-19 in public gathering spots, but now also like the ease of shopping and speed of delivery big factors.