The e-grocery industry is growing in strength. New challenges for entrepreneurs?

The e-grocery industry is growing in strength. New challenges for entrepreneurs?

As indicated by the “E-commerce in Poland 2021” report prepared by Gemius, 73%
of Internet users actively shop online. However, food products still lose out to the non-food sector. Has the Pandemic proved to be a milestone for the e-grocery sector in Poland? What challenges has entrepreneurs been facing as a result?

Beginnings in the 1990s.

The history of e-commerce in Poland began in 1997, when the first Terent online store was launched. Both Merlin and Empik joined in 1999. That year also saw the establishment of Poland’s largest trading platform, Allegro. Since then, the number of online stores has increased considerably to 52,300 in 2021[1], and the value of the e-commerce market has exceeded 100 billion PLN [2].

Pandemic surge

In the beginning of 2020, before the outbreak of the pandemic, doing grocery shopping with online delivery was possible mainly in the capital and several other large Polish cities. Today, such services are also available in smaller towns, mainly thanks to the introduction of such
a facility by popular chain stores. The Gemius report “E-commerce in Poland 2021” shows that 73% of Poles do their shopping online, but it is still not food that is the most common consumer choice. There is no doubt that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,
the popularity of e-grocery in Poland has grown significantly. It turns out that as many as 58% of those surveyed who do their grocery shopping online are new users who only started using such services during this difficult period. PwC forecasts that the e-grocery market will achieve the highest average annual growth rate in 2021-2026, and its value will be at the level of 18 billion PLN.

Pros and cons

Among the numerous advantages of online shopping are:

  • time savings,
  • convenience,
  • opportunity to shop for another person, such as in another city,
  • non-contact,
  • the ability to compare store offers,
  • greater product availability.

Polish consumers are still very conservative when it comes to online shopping. They most often buy long-lasting food such as canned goods, dry goods, oils, and snacks. Meat, dairy products, frozen food, fruit and vegetables or bread are less frequently found in shopping baskets. One of the main concerns for shoppers in this case is whether the products delivered to them will be fresh and safe for consumption.

A challenge for entrepreneurs

In the era of increased demand for online grocery shopping, it is a great challenge for delivery operators to guarantee the freshness of the offered products. InPost has come up with a solution to this challenge and has provided its customers with Lodówkomaty (Refrigerated Lockers). They work and look similar to the classic Paczkomomat, but their lockers are refrigerators that maintain the temperature of products on three levels.

“Maintaining proper temperature of food products, especially ice-cream, dairy, fruit, vegetables, or frozen food, is important also at earlier stages of the supply chain, i.e., during transport and storage.”, says Daria Roszczyk-Krowicka, Sales and Marketing Director at Blulog, a company that provides modern supply chain and warehouse monitoring solutions. “In such a situation, technology, mainly the temperature and humidity monitoring system, comes to the aid of entrepreneurs. Increased interest in this type of solutions can usually be observed in the spring and summer months, when suppliers begin to notice problems in storage resulting from too high environmental temperature.”

Performance monitoring is important from the suppliers’ perspective as it provides them with peace of mind, less waste in the products they offer, and allows them to increase customer confidence.



[1] Data source Dun and Bradstreet

[2] Data source PwC

Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by Anastazja Lach