If you’re already logged in to your laptop, or looking at your phone while waiting for a train, then it’s all too easy to organise your grocery shopping online rather than digging out all your Bags for Life and trekking to the shops.
In fact, getting your food shopping delivered is becoming more popular – online grocery sales are expected to reach £9.8 billion this year, topping last year’s figure by 13%, market analysts Mintel say.
And, according to a Mintel survey of 2,000 people, one in ten of us have done away with the weekly trip to the supermarket altogether and only buy groceries online.
Aside from the convenience factor, those surveyed said one of the main reasons for buying groceries online was to keep a better track of their spending.
But one of the biggest drawbacks of the digital approach can be how little control you have over what you’re buying.
Whether that’s weird substitutions (Pampers instead of sausage rolls for dinner, anyone?) or receiving bruised and battered vegetables, there’s a clear advantage to choosing exactly what goes into your trolley.
Supermarkets use a range of tactics in store to tempt you into loading up your basket. Our 2014 investigation into supermarket psychology found products that are bought together are often placed together on shelves to encourage you to buy all of them – whether that’s a meal deal or gin and tonic.
And the overall layout of a supermarket is carefully planned to get us to part with our cash – the area at the front of the supermarket doesn’t contain much, cleverly planned so that we slow our pace to a leisurely ‘shopping speed’. And wide aisles mean you can become distracted by items that aren’t on your shopping list.
Pressure to purchase
So for those of you that shop online, especially now that the major supermarkets allow you to save favourite items – and sometimes even whole shopping lists – is it easier to avoid impulse buys? Or do you find that you have the same pressures to purchase more as you would in a supermarket?
And for those who tend to pick up what they need from a smaller supermarket of the Express, Metro or Local variety, where your bill can be higher than if you’d gone shopping further out of town – do you ever find yourself shopping online to save money?