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 yr earlier.
Tim Steiner, CEO at Ocado Group, mentioned: “As we head in the 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 individuals on-line as lockdown restrictions prevented them from finishing up day-to-day duties elsewhere.
For some, together with Ocado, offering clients with a web-based service throughout a time when individuals had been pressured to remain at dwelling 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 tug its web site, and selected to spice up its expertise 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 individuals selected to buy on-line.
The latter half of final yr additionally noticed M&S and Ocado enter the primary week of their on-line supply partnership, permitting clients to order M&S meals via the Ocado platform as a part of a £750m deal.
However as restrictions start to ease, Ocado mentioned there was a slight drop in basket sizes within the second quarter of 2021, which it attributes to fewer meals being eaten at dwelling as issues slowly return to regular.
Because of this drop in basket sizes within the second quarter, with the variety of gadgets offered in a single buy shifting “towards pre-Covid-19 ranges”, the retailer mentioned basket sizes on the finish of the 26-week interval to 30 Could had been 10% decrease than the typical basket measurement throughout the primary half of 2021.
There’s at the moment lots of debate surrounding whether or not client behaviour shifts ensuing from the pandemic will return to “regular” or whether or not an elevated degree of on-line buying will proceed.
Ocado has gone all-in on guaranteeing elevated capability for supply throughout the UK to organize for sturdy demand for on-line grocery buying from clients who’re “now socialised” into digital buying habits because of the pandemic.
This contains making its fulfilment centres extra environment friendly, partly via introducing extra dependable bots, equivalent to its 500 Sequence 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 expertise facet of the enterprise, Ocado has continued to signal companions for its Ocado Good Platform, which allows its companions to make use of a mixture of Ocado’s software program and bodily fulfilment centres to supply on-line grocery companies.
The corporate has all the time had a repute for placing expertise on the forefront of its selections, and has spent the previous 5 years researching the event of robotic expertise. Earlier this yr, it made a £10m funding in Oxbotica, an autonomous car developer.