The number of online shoppers who buy groceries on the net will rise sharply, in the next four years, a PricewaterhouseCoopers has predicted.

Thirty-eight per cent of the 1,500 online consumers surveyed said they bought food and drink online and a further 25% intended to start in the near future. Price was rated by 70% as their main reason for buying online, while convenience was singled out by the same percentage. Two thirds said they found it easier to find what they wanted online.

"We believe 70% of UK consumers will regularly shop online by 2011, compared with 50% today," said Mark Hudson, PwC retail and consumer leader. "This will swell the value of the online market to almost £35bn - three times the current spend. However, online retail will still only represent 10% of the total market value."