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Personal Finance

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?


Your monthly grocery shopping bill might have inched up owing to the price hikes taken by the FMCG companies. The price hikes are due to everything from commodity prices, freight costs, and packaging.

We looked at some hard data on online grocery shopping and compared prices for a “typical” household grocery basket from six months ago. Read on to see our comparison of prices offered by different online grocery retailers and which retailers offer the best prices by product category and overall.

A lot has changed in the online grocery space – acquisitions, exit, faster delivery options, and expansion.

The major industry development was Tata Digital, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, acquiring a majority stake in online grocer BigBasket in May. Tata Digital acquired a 64.3% stake in BigBasket. Reportedly, the deal is worth about $1.31 billion and will involve buying out Chinese giant Alibaba’s stake.

JioMart, part of Reliance Industries, revealed during its AGM that JioMart had registered over 6.5 lakh peak orders in a single day. The online grocery unit has brought on board over three lakh merchant and shopkeeper partners in 150 cities. JioMart had seen a three-times growth in Kirana orders and a doubling of order frequency. It is expanding to more cities and plans to get on board over one crore merchant partners over the next three years.

Zomato – restaurant aggregator and food delivery app – exited their online grocery business but acquired a 9.3% stake in online grocer Grofers for about ₹ 750 crore.

The online grocery space has moved on to 30 minutes or 15 minutes or even 10 minutes delivery options from one-or-two-day delivery options. A couple of months back, Grofers started offering 10 mins delivery in 10 cities and aims to extend this offering to many more cities in the coming days.

However, what continues to intrigue users – DISCOUNTS.

Our Shopping Cart

We first did this price comparison exercise in March 2021. We continued with our “typical” shopping basket. Few changes were made related to items and quantity for an easier, equal, and fair comparison across the major e-grocery platforms in India.

The product basket was for the Mumbai location and included grocery items consumed by a typical urban family. The list, while not exhaustive, tried to cover most things an urban family would need in any given month.

We compared prices over four weeks to compare discounts, offers, and availability across players.

The basket selected has a printed price, i.e., MRP of ₹ 9,875. This is 3.5% higher than March 2021.

The price increase was across all segments, with the highest increase in consumer staples. Packaged foods show a decrease because we changed the quantity. However, if we make an apple-to-apple comparison, there has been a hike in the prices of Maggi noodles and Lays chips. Similarly, the total cost of beverages has gone down because we changed the tea product. But in that category, prices of Tropicana juice have increased by 10%.

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

The Discounts

Personal care products form a major part of the basket, and the discounts offered are highest in that category. Similarly, staples that form the second-most major part of the basket see the second-highest discounts among other categories.

The discounts have changed compared to our earlier survey. In March 2021, home care products had the highest discount.

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

Among the six online grocery platforms compared, JioMart offers the highest discount, followed by DMart Ready. Grofers offered the lowest discount. The total discounts offered by BigBasket, JioMart, and Grofers in September 2021 continued to remain the same compared to March, while that of DMart and Flipkart Supermart has reduced by around 200 basis points. On the other hand, discounts offered by Amazon have increased by 150 basis points.Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

Across the six categories selected, JioMart offers the highest discounts on Packaged Foods, Beverages, and Personal Care products. In contrast, it provides the least discounts on Staples and Home Care products. Flipkart SuperMart offers the highest discount on staples. It is not the one to offer the lowest discounts overall because the price shown on edible oil is the lowest. Also, the company runs a promotional offer where it sells a product at just ₹ 1 if you have added products worth more than ₹ 600 into the cart.

The table presented below ranks the online grocers based on the discounts offered in each category. Rank number one indicates that the discounts offered by the online grocer are highest in that particular category.

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

How to maximise your savings from shopping online?

  • Order Dairy and Home Care products from DMart
  • Staples from Flipkart
  • Packaged Foods, Beverages, and Personal Care products from JioMart

This means a saving of up to 16% from MRP. Of course, the flexible and real-time nature of online pricing is that this could look very different a few months from now.

Delivery charges would have been nil in the case of JioMart and Flipkart. However, DMart charges ₹ 49 or 3% of the order value, whichever is higher, for home delivery. Collection of orders from DMart Ready pick-up point is free.

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

Of the 36 items in our basket, we looked at the lowest, highest, and in-between prices. So, DMart and JioMart offer the most number of products at the lowest price. DMart charges the highest price for only one product – hand sanitiser.

Amazon – which offers the third-highest discount on the overall basket – charges the lowest prices for seven products and the highest prices for nine products. Flipkart Supermart charges the highest prices for most products among online grocers. At the same time, BigBasket offers nearly all its products in the price range (between the best and the worst).

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

Final Thoughts

Six major players continue to dominate the e-grocery space. There are players like Swiggy and Dunzo leveraging the hyperlocal model given its lower Capex requirement. Also, few niche players operate in this space and serve some product categories. For instance, Milkbasket and Supr Daily cater to dairy and select products in limited regions and Licious in meat products.

Online Grocery Shopping: Who’s the cheapest of them all?

Discount continues to remain the main mantra when it comes to online shopping. This is because the market potential is huge and because multiple players are ramping up their businesses. And also, because in India, a large quantum of households is value-conscious. They are price sensitive and prioritise discounts over other factors. A few prioritise shopping experience and prefer purchasing from a wider product assortment in one place and lower delivery time.

Given Capitalmind’s research and understanding, it appears that JioMart and DMart are focusing on value-conscious buyers. At the same time, BigBasket and Grofers are more inclined towards convenience-based shoppers. On the other hand, Amazon and Flipkart SuperMart are focusing on both segments.

Read our March 2021 Online Grocery shopping price comparison

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This article is for information only and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks. Stocks mentioned may be part of Capitalmind Premium Model Portfolios.

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