The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, April 22, 2020. — Reuters pic

LONDON, July 28 — Amazon will begin free and same-day deliveries of groceries in London for its “Prime” members from today, as it looks to cash in on fast-growing demand for buying essentials online, a trend that has been boosted by the coronavirus lockdown.

Customers with a “Prime” subscription can order meat, produce, snacks and other household essentials from Amazon UK’s “Fresh” service in two-hour windows for orders above 40 (RM219), the e-commerce giant said. Orders made before 9pm will be delivered the same day in most areas, it said.

It said it has lowered the minimum order value for Prime customers to £15, from £40, and it aims to roll out free, same-day delivery to Prime customers across the United Kingdom by the end of the year.

The lockdown has led to changing consumer behaviour as people shun supermarket trips, with nearly one in five British households now buying over the internet, market researcher Kantar said last month.

Industry data shows that grocery sales in Britain rose 14.6 per cent in the four weeks to July 12 compared with last year, though growth was slower than previous weeks as restrictions to contain the coronavirus were eased.

Internet supermarket group Ocado forecast earlier this month that online grocery shopping will double its share of the UK market over the new few years, building on a huge increase during the lockdown.

Amazon has been tapping into this sector since 2016, when it first launched its “Fresh” service, although it has been selling food and drinks since the launch of its grocery store in 2010.

Last year the US company extended its partnership with Morrisons which allowed customers to order from the UK supermarket chain and have it delivered by Amazon. It is unclear how the new plan affects this collaboration.

The new service applies to around 300 postcodes across Greater London and the South East of England.

Amazon’s move had been flagged by trade press in April. — Reuters

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