The combined online grocery share of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Ocado and WaitroseDeliver grew from 3.6% to a record 4.2% over the 12 weeks to 18 April, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
With sales of £934m, online has nudged ahead of Waitrose, which achieved sales of £924m and a 4.1% share of the grocery market for the same period.
Online sales growth has slowed from 32.1% last year to 20.3% but this still represents an additional £621m over the year, taking sales to £3.7bn [52w/e 18 April]. That figure could realistically top £4bn before the end of this year, said Kantar communications director Ed Garner. "We will see a slight tail off in growth as time goes on because we now have greater penetration of broadband internet, which offered the greatest growth potential," he said. "Growth is still strong, however, and will continue to be."
Although online shopping remains more popular with those on higher incomes, there have been some shifts in shopper profile. Young families are now substantially more likely than any other group to shop online for groceries, with 8% of that group's groceries bought online. Pre-family households now do 5.1% of their grocery shopping online, slightly ahead of families with kids aged over 10, at 4.9%.
The figures reveal that penetration has reached a record high in the past year, with 19.3% of shoppers buying online at least once, up from 17.9% last year.