As indicated in the report “E-commerce in Poland 2021” prepared by Gemius, 73% of Internet users actively shop online. However, food products are still losing out to the non-food sector. Has the pandemic turned out to be a milestone for the e-grocery sector in Poland? What are the challenges facing entrepreneurs?
The Beginnings in the 90s
The history of e-commerce in Poland began in 1997, when the first Terent online store was launched. Merlin and Empik joined him in 1999. In the same year, the largest Polish trading platform – Allegro was also established. Since then, the number of online stores has increased significantly – in 2021 to 52.3 thousands  – and the value of the e-commerce market exceeded PLN 100 billion .
A Pandemic Leap
Even at the beginning of 2020, before the outbreak of the pandemic, shopping for groceries with delivery via the Internet 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 amenities by popular retail chains.
The Gemius report “E-commerce in Poland 2021” shows that 73% of Poles shop online, but still food products are not the most common choice of consumers. There is no doubt that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the popularity of e-grocery in Poland has increased significantly.
It turns out that as many as 58% of the surveyed people who do grocery shopping online are new users who started using this type of service only in this difficult period. PwC forecasts that the e-grocery market in 2021-2026 will achieve the highest average annual growth rate, and its value will be at the level of PLN 18 billion.
Pros and Cons
Among the many advantages of online shopping, the following can be distinguished:
- saving time,
- the ability to make purchases for another person, e.g. in another city,
- the possibility of comparing store offers,
- greater availability of products.
Polish consumers are still very conservative when it comes to online shopping. Most often they buy persistent foods, such as: canned products, dry products, oils and snacks. The baskets contain less often meat, dairy products, frozen food, fruit and vegetables or bread. One of the main concerns faced by buyers in this case is whether the products delivered to them will be for sure fresh and fit for consumption.
A Challenge for Entrepreneurs
In the era of increased demand for online grocery shopping, it is precisely the guarantee of the freshness of the offered products that is a big challenge for entities offering deliveries. The InPost company came out against the entrepreneurs, which provided refrigerators (“Lodówkomaty” in polish) for its customers. They work and look like a classic parcel locker (“Paczkomat” in polish), but their lockers are refrigerators that keep the temperature of the products on three levels.
– Maintaining the appropriate temperature of food products, in particular ice cream, dairy products, fruit, vegetables and frozen foods, is also important at the earlier stages of the supply chain, i.e. in transport and storage. – says Daria Roszczyk-Krowicka, Sales and Marketing Director at Blulog, a company providing modern solutions for monitoring the supply chain and warehouses – In this situation, technology comes to the rescue of entrepreneurs, namely the temperature and humidity monitoring system. Most often, an increased interest in these types of solutions can be noticed in the spring and summer months, when suppliers begin to notice problems in storage resulting from too high environmental temperature.
Monitoring of parameters is important from the perspective of suppliers, as it provides them with peace of mind, less losses in the offered products, and also allows them to increase customer trust.
 data source: Dun and Bradstreet
 data source: PwC