E-commerce giant Amazon has launched a new service offering packaged groceries in the UK on Friday for Amazon Prime members, increasing pressure on the brick-and-mortar supermarkets.
The new package is the company’s attempt at capitalising on the UK’s growing online grocery market but doesn’t yet offer the full Amazon Fresh service that’s available in the US which has more than 20,000 chilled, frozen and perishable products from local shops.
Analysts believe the US-based company is readying for a full launch of Amazon Fresh in the UK next year. The new Amazon Pantry service providers Amazon Prime members (who pay £79 a year) a choice of more than 4,000 everyday essentials, including major brands of food and drink and household supplies.
Prime members can fill a 20 kg Amazon Pantry box for a one-day delivery with £2.99 fee for the first box and an additional 99p for each additional box in the same order.
“Amazon Pantry has been designed to take the heavy lifting out of replenishing the often bulky basics and store cupboard essentials that people need every day”, said Amazon Pantry manager at Amazon UK, Helene Parthenay. Amazon Pantry is already available in the United States, Germany and Japan.
Britain’s main supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have seen sales and profits fall as they cut prices in response to German chains Aldi and Lidl.
All the main stores have online grocery services, with Morrisons the last to offer a service via a tie-up with Ocado.
Online grocery shopping is a growing market in the UK. And according to research group IGD, the UK market is set to double to 17.2 billion pounds by 2020.
Amazon has already offered a selection of food and drink items to UK customers since it launched its Grocery Store in 2010. This year the company has added further chilled and frozen items to its Prime Now service which provides a one-hour delivery to some locations in London and Birmingham.
Amazon said on Friday that Prime Now will be rolled out to further UK cities in the coming months. But it did not comments on its plans for Amazon Fresh.
“We’ve never made any announcements about Amazon Fresh in the UK and nor would I wish to comment on rumour and speculation” said a spokesman.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.