Online grocery sales to double in key European markets by 2016 -IGD

Reuters

* Britain, trailblazer in online grocery, seen at 13.7 blneuros

* Grocery e-commerce also set to take off in Germany,Netherlands

* Supermarkets embrace "click and collect" to boost online

BERLIN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Online grocery sales will roughlydouble on average by 2016 in five key northern European markets- Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands -the food and consumer goods research group IGD said on Thursday.

IGD predicted that online grocery shopping in Britain wouldbe worth 13.7 billion euros ($18.9 billion) by 2016, up from 7.1billion in 2012, while the French market should grow to 10.6billion euros from 5 billion last year.

"Online retailing in food and consumer goods is growing at aphenomenal rate across Europe. Technology is empowering people,fundamentally changing the way they buy groceries," IGD chiefexecutive Joanne Denney-Finch said in a statement.

British retailers have been trailblazers in moving to sellfood online, with the business growing 16 percent a year,although the delivery logistics for chilled products are muchmore complex and expensive than for non-perishables.

Even Amazon has made only tentative steps intogrocery, but it is now preparing to expand its "Fresh" businessto 20 urban areas in 2014. It says that it may expand outsidethe United States, but has not specified where.

The British online grocer Ocado said this month itexpects to agree more and more joint ventures with retailersoutside its home market, mirroring its deal with the Britishsupermarket chain Wm Morrison.

IGD said even Germany, where dominant discounters Lidl andAldi have not embraced online grocery selling, would see salesgrow to 2.5 billion euros by 2016 from 1.1 billion in 2012.

It said the Dutch market would leap to 1.6 billion eurosfrom 0.6 billion, and Swiss online grocery sales would rise to1.1 billion euros from 0.7 billion.

Some European retailers such as Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda, Carrefour and Ahold arebuilding hundreds of collection points to give shoppers moreflexibility in how they receive their online orders.

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