Income for Ocado’s retail enterprise grew by 19.8% within the first half of 2021, in contrast with the equal interval in 2020. Within the 26 weeks ending Could 2021, the corporate’s retail income hit £1.2bn, a rise from £1.02bn a yr earlier.
Tim Steiner, CEO at Ocado Group, stated: “As we head in the direction of a post-Covid-19 future, it’s more and more clear that the panorama for grocery worldwide has modified, for good.”
Buyer behaviour was already shifting on-line earlier than the pandemic – it’s anticipated that greater than half of shoppers will store for meals on-line by 2021 – however the coronavirus pandemic more and more compelled folks on-line as lockdown restrictions prevented them from finishing up day-to-day duties elsewhere.
For some, together with Ocado, offering clients with a web-based service throughout a time when folks have been compelled to remain at dwelling proved helpful for enterprise.
When the UK went into its first lockdown in March 2020, Ocado noticed such an enormous spike in orders that it was compelled to drag its web site, and selected to spice up its know-how workforce by 300 within the first half of 2020 to deal with elevated demand.
As lockdowns continued into late 2020, Ocado noticed a rise in weekly on-line orders as extra folks selected to buy on-line.
The latter half of final yr additionally noticed M&S and Ocado enter the primary week of their on-line supply partnership, permitting clients to order M&S meals by way of the Ocado platform as a part of a £750m deal.
However as restrictions start to ease, Ocado stated there was a slight drop in basket sizes within the second quarter of 2021, which it attributes to fewer meals being eaten at dwelling as issues slowly return to regular.
As a consequence of this drop in basket sizes within the second quarter, with the variety of gadgets bought in a single buy shifting “towards pre-Covid-19 ranges”, the retailer stated basket sizes on the finish of the 26-week interval to 30 Could have been 10% decrease than the common basket measurement throughout the primary half of 2021.
There may be presently loads of debate surrounding whether or not shopper behaviour shifts ensuing from the pandemic will return to “regular” or whether or not an elevated stage of on-line buying will proceed.
Ocado has gone all-in on making certain elevated capability for supply throughout the UK to arrange for robust demand for on-line grocery buying from clients who’re “now socialised” into digital buying habits on account of the pandemic.
This contains making its fulfilment centres extra environment friendly, partly by way of introducing extra dependable bots, corresponding to its 500 Sequence bot, which is now in operation at its Bristol fulfilment centre, and the event of extra fulfilment centres within the UK within the close to future.
On the know-how aspect of the enterprise, Ocado has continued to signal companions for its Ocado Good Platform, which permits its companions to make use of a mix of Ocado’s software program and bodily fulfilment centres to offer on-line grocery providers.
The corporate has at all times had a fame for placing know-how on the forefront of its choices, and has spent the previous 5 years researching the event of robotic know-how. Earlier this yr, it made a £10m funding in Oxbotica, an autonomous automobile developer.