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Grocery delivery charges could skyrocket

19 September 2012 - 11:37 by Graham Miller

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People who purchase their groceries online can expect to pay a relatively small fee to cover the cost of delivery.

The sheer volume of items which are being transported from a local shop or depot to your home when you place an order with a major supermarket, means that in many cases the retailers are actually taking a loss, in order to support cheap delivery fees, according to market analyst, Dr Clive Black.

The Daily Mail reports that Dr Black believes we could see delivery charges for e-commerce deliveries of weekly shops increase to 15 or more, as retailers struggle to cover the costs associated with this type of service.

He believes that in real terms, a single delivery could cost the retailers around 20 for each customer, which means that they are having to subsidise this feature with increased prices in other areas.

Dr Black argues that because retailers are putting up the price of their food products in-store, so that losses from deliveries made after safe shopping online can be offset, the poorer families are having to suffer. Lower income households tend to shop in-store, while those who can afford the standard 5 delivery charge required by most retailers for grocery deliveries, are usually more affluent.

The demand for online grocery services is growing at a rapid rate, with more and more people taking advantage of the services offered by the likes of Tesco and Asda. However, if there is a sudden increase in the amount that people are having to pay for the delivery, then this could curtail the growth.

Of course, retailers might find a way to make sure that they are not having to fork out quite so much for delivery, which would, in turn, allow for lower costs to consumers.