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 12 months earlier.
Tim Steiner, CEO at Ocado Group, stated: “As we head in 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 pressured folks on-line as lockdown restrictions prevented them from finishing up day-to-day duties elsewhere.
For some, together with Ocado, offering prospects with a web-based service throughout a time when folks had been pressured to remain at house proved useful for enterprise.
When the UK went into its first lockdown in March 2020, Ocado noticed such an enormous spike in orders that it was pressured 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 12 months additionally noticed M&S and Ocado enter the primary week of their on-line supply partnership, permitting prospects 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 house as issues slowly return to regular.
As a consequence of this drop in basket sizes within the second quarter, with the variety of objects offered 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 had been 10% decrease than the common basket dimension throughout the primary half of 2021.
There may be at present a number of debate surrounding whether or not shopper behaviour shifts ensuing from the pandemic will return to “regular” or whether or not an elevated degree of on-line procuring will proceed.
Ocado has gone all-in on making certain elevated capability for supply throughout the UK to organize for robust demand for on-line grocery procuring from prospects who’re “now socialised” into digital procuring habits because of the pandemic.
This consists of making its fulfilment centres extra environment friendly, partly by way of introducing extra dependable bots, comparable to its 500 Collection 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 facet of the enterprise, Ocado has continued to signal companions for its Ocado Good Platform, which permits its companions to make use of a mixture of Ocado’s software program and bodily fulfilment centres to offer on-line grocery companies.
The corporate has all the time had a status 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 12 months, it made a £10m funding in Oxbotica, an autonomous car developer.