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Online vs in-store grocery shopping prices in SA

| Research tools

If you are willing to pay the premium cost of delivery, and potentially miss out on some in-store specials, online grocery shopping may be a viable option for South Africans.

Two of the country’s major food retailers – Pick n Pay and Woolworths – offer online shopping services and deliveries.

While both groups have reported that online purchases account for a small portion of revenue approximately 1% to date, there has been an increase in consumers perusing the digital platforms to do their grocery shopping.

BusinessTech recently did a rudimentary pricing comparison between the large retailers, and using the same basket of goods, we’ve checked to see how the two online options for Pick n Pay and Woolworths compare to their physical retail counterparts.

It should be noted up-front that the delivery charge is included in the online basket, as they are an essential part of the service, and are chalked up as the premium you pay to avoid having to drive to a store and stand in a queue.

All prices represented are as seen on packaging or signage in-store, and the exact same product online.

Pick n Pay

Product

In-store price

Online price

Price difference

Apples

R16.50

R16.50

 

Bread

R6.50

R6.99

+R0.49

Cabbage

R10.99

R10.99

 

Coca Cola

R13.50

R15.99

+R2.49

Eggs

R12.95

R12.95

 

Flour

R32.99

R30.99

-R2.00

Maize

R17.49

R17.48

-R0.01

Margarine

R17.95

R16.95

-R1.00

Milk

R22.79

R22.79

 

Rice

R18.29

R18.29

 

Sugar

R23.90

R26.99

+R3.09

Tea

R14.89

R14.89

 

Delivery (minimum)

R50.00

+R50.00

Total

R208.74

R261.80

+R53.06



Pick n Pay’s online prices match in-store prices pretty much directly, with a few exceptions.

The key price differences show up where the online store cannot account for in-store specials (for example, the price of Coca Cola).

In a few cases, however, the online prices are cheaper than in-store.

Pick n Pay’s delivery fees range between R50 and R90, depending on which slots are available for delivery. Taking the cheapest rate (R50) into account, with the selected basket of goods it costs over 25% more to by online.

Without delivery fees, Pick n Pay online is only 1.4% more expensive, likely due to store-specific savings.

Woolworths

Product

In-store price

Online price

Price difference

Apples

R14.99

R21.99

+R7.00

Bread

R11.95

R13.45

+R1.50

Cabbage

R12.99

R12.99

 

Coca Cola

R15.95

R15.95

 

Eggs

R20.99

R20.99

 

Flour

R13.95

R14.95

+R1.00

Maize

R18.95

R19.95

+R1.00

Margarine

R23.99

R23.99

 

Milk

R27.95

R27.95

 

Rice

R22.95

R24.95

+R2.00

Sugar

R29.95

R29.95

 

Tea

R15.95

R15.95

 

Delivery

R50.00

+R50.00

Total

R230.56

R293.06

R62.50



Woolworths’ online pricing is a hit and miss when compared to the retail costs.

As with Pick n Pay, online shoppers are not able to take advantage of in-store specials, which may vary from branch to branch – but in some cases the online prices are simply more expensive.

Notably, the price of buying apples (1.5kg, golden delicious) is as much as R7 more expensive online than it is in-store.

Other discrepancies include the price of flour (1kg, self-raising) which is R1 more – and normal brown bread (700g) which is R1.50 more online.

Woolies’ delivery charges are similar to Pick n Pay’s in that they range between R50 and R95, and are determined by location, rather than time slot.

For the selected basket of goods, Woolworths Online is 27% more expensive that in-store.

Without delivery fees, Woolworths online is 5.4% more expensive than in-store, for this specific basket of goods.

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