Consumer Behaviour in Online Grocery Retailing in Germany

Master's Thesis, 2020

90 Pages, Grade: 1,0



1.1 Research Context and Rationale
1.2 Research Aim and Objectives
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Research Design
1.5 Dissertation Structure

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.3 Structural Factors Affecting Online Retail Use
2.4 Demographic Factors Affecting Online Retail Use
2.5 Barriers to Grocery Food Retail – A Gap in the State of Knowledge
2.6 Conceptual Framework
2.7 Chapter Conclusion

3.1 Research Methodology
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Data Collection
3.3.1 Semi-Structured Interviews
3.3.2 Population and Sample
3.3.3 Research Ethics
3.3.4 Pilot Studies
3.3.5 Credibility and Dependability
3.4 Data Analysis
3.4.1 Thematic Analysis
3.4.2 Limitations and Delimitations

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Results
4.2.1 Grocery Purchasing Behaviour
4.2.2 Motivating Drivers when buying Grocerie s
4.2.3 Demotivating Drivers when buying Groceries
4.2.4 Overall Impression of Online Grocery Retailing
4.2.5 Motivating and Demotivating Factors of Online Grocery Retailing
4.2.6 Explanation of the low demand situation in Germany
4.2.7 Assessment of Practical Aspects of the Online Grocery Trade
4.2.8 Decisive Factor for using the Online Grocery Channel
4.3 Discussion
4.3.1 Findings in Support of Literature
4.3.2 Findings which Vary from Literature
4.3.3 Addressing RQs Aim and Objectives
4.4 Chapter Summary

5.1 Conclusions
5.2 Recommendations
5.2.1 Practical Recommendations
5.2.2 Limitations and Further Research




Purpose: Despite widespread popularity in Europe, particularly in the UK and the Netherlands, demand for Online Grocery Retail in Germany, which is economically just as strongly developed, appears to be rather low. This study therefore aims to find out which factors encourage or discourage consumers in Germany to order groceries online.

Design: Based on the hypothesis that there is some degree of resistance to the utilisation of technology which is potentially inhibiting German consumers utilising actively embracing online grocery retail, the Technology Acceptance Model and its extension was chosen as a conceptual framework in order to test this assumption. To test the findings of the Literature Review, 25 semi-structured interviews were conducted in the empirical part of this study. The target group of the interviewees were students aged between 18 - 30, 13 of them female and 12 male.

Findings: The main findings are that the reasons for the low demand for online grocery retailing in Germany are cultural. German consumers are more likely to trust new trends if they have been on the market and established for a longer period of time. The high density of grocery stores favours the fact that German consumers do not see any real added value in this service and thus no real usefulness. In addition to ease of use and usefulness, demographic aspects must also be taken into account in order to make the online grocery trade successful in Germany.

Research limitations and implications: The study focused on a specific age and target group. For practical reasons, the number was limited to 25 interviews. For further research it is recommended to analyze further age and target groups in order to gain further differences in the individual aspects.

Practical implications: Businesses need to make the online grocery business model transparent and useful from a marketing perspective. The clear advantages of this way of shopping groceries must be communicated. Furthermore, psychological aspects of consumers must be understood and taken into account in the retailers' strategy. Last but not least, importance must be attached to data protection and environmental protection; this message must be conveyed.

Originality and Value: By providing current insights into consumers' preferences and wishes on their personal grocery shopping behavior, the findings can be used by Businesses and especially Grocery Retailer to shape the grocery shopping of the future.

Keywords: Online Grocery Retail, Consumer behaviour, Technology Acceptance Model

Paper Category: Research Paper

List of Figures and Tables

List of Figures

Figure 1: Technology Acceptance Model (Davis et al., 1989, p.988 )

Figure 2: Conceptual Framework (Author, 2019)

Figure 3: Key Demographic Characteristics of the Participants - Age (Author, 2019)

Figure 4: Key Demographic Characteristics of the Participants - Gender (Author, 2019)

Figure 5: Point of Grocery Purchase (Author, 2019)

Figure 6: Frequency of Grocery Shopping (Author, 2019)

Figure 7: Balanced attitude towards online grocery retailing (Author, 2019)

Figure 8: Reasons given for the low popularity of online grocery retailing in Germany (Author, 2019 )

Figure 9: Respondents' answers to the final interview question (Author, 2019)

List of Tables

Table 1: Categorized important drivers when buying groceries (Author, 2020)

Table 2: Categorized demotivating drivers when buying groceries (Author, 2020)

Table 3: Categorized motivating and demotivating factors of Online Grocery (Author, 2020)


1.1 Research Context and Rationale

Online food (grocery) retail has increased rapidly in popularity in recent years, and according to research by McKinsey (2019) is set to become one of the largest growth markets over the next decade. However, there is also evidence suggesting that adoption of online food retail by consumers has not been uniform across developed economies. Some economies such as the UK, the US and also China have rapidly embraced the concept of online food retail (Lee et al., 2017). Conversely, several studies undertaken across mainland Europe and especially Germany, which undoubtedly can be considered as developed economy, find much slower adoption of online food retail by consumers (Internetworld, 2019). This is in spite of the fact that there is sufficient technological development, infrastructure and availability, and consumers are certainly sophisticated enough to purchase food in this manner should they so wish. A number of theoretical explanations, which will also be discussed later - have been put forward for the seeming reluctance of consumers in Europe to embrace online food retail (Yeo et al., 2017), but there is far less empirical research conducted with consumers in specific national/cultural settings. This research study concentrates particularly on the experiences of consumers in Germany to ascertain what motivates or demotivates them to embrace online food delivery and associated technological developments.

Underpinned by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis et al., 1989), this research study captures primary data from German consumers to understand their motivations attitudes towards online food retail, in relation to perceived benefits or otherwise. Further, particular attention is directed towards extrinsic factors which, as discussed in the theoretical framework of this research, have greater influence towards consumer attitudes than might have been considered. Whilst in principle the business models of direct delivery by grocery food retailers might be assumed to function in densely populated and urban areas of Germany, the evidence suggests otherwise (Mintel, 2019; Statista, 2019). It might be induced that this points towards cultural or other tacit factors which are not properly understood, but which are alluded to within the TAM in terms of external variables and consumer attitudes. Another key feature of the TAM is that it articulates a noted gap between what consumers say they will do what they actually do, which according to Kamble et al., (2019) is often overlooked. Using a qualitative approach, this research seeks to critically evaluate German consumer attitudes towards online food grocery retail in relation to technological intervention.

1.2 Research Aim and Objectives

The principal aim of this research project is to find out the core factors which motivate and demotivate German consumers to utilise online food retail channels using a qualitative empirical assessment. Against the knowledge that the German market has been slow to embrace online food retail as compared to other similar countries (Mintel, 2019), the purpose of this study is to understand the factors which may help to explain this slow uptake in demand. The pace of development in this area of consumer behaviour has been rapid, and much attention has been directed towards technological delivery rather than necessarily consumer attitudes (Kölmel et al., 2019). However, industry studies confirm a significant practical gap between what business models might anticipate in terms of growth levels in Germany for the service, and what consumers are actually doing. Understanding the causes of this gap is important if such food providers are to increase their foothold in what are potentially highly lucrative markets.

On the basis of the available evidence it might be tentatively suggested that some of the main de-motivations or barriers towards German consumer attitudes are tacit, such as cultural norms and/or behaviour patterns. Given the widespread utilisation of technology by Germans in other areas (Wunderlich et al., 2019), it would not be anticipated the issues or barriers relate to the technology itself. As such, in order to elucidate what these tacit barriers might be, it is necessary to adopt a qualitative approach in order to understand in detail the likely motivations of German consumers. Whilst quantitative approach would help to articulate prevalence or otherwise (Bell et al., 2018), it will not necessarily demonstrate causation. Accordingly, the objectives of this research are:

1. To conduct a critical evaluation of existing literature relating to online food retail with specific focus on German consumer attitudes and behaviours
2. To evaluate the factors which would both encourage and inhibit the use of technology amongst German consumers to support online food retail
3. To capture and analyse primary data from German consumers to understand the factors which explain their interaction with technology and online food retail and use this to inform recommendations

1.3 Research Questions

This research project has two specific research questions as follows:

- What motivates German consumers to buy food via an online channel?
- What other factors stand in the way of the online food trade in Germany?

The purpose of this research is to evaluate consumer attitudes towards the use of online food delivery apps. In this study, online food channels are predominantly assumed to relate towards grocery food retail (as will be discussed in depth in Section 2.1). It is acknowledged that other forms of online food retail exist, for example online food delivery such as Uber Eats, and some research relied upon in this study has examined facets of this such as consumer attitudes, but the main focus of this study is online grocery convenience and a willingness of consumers in Germany to adopt this approach.

1.4 Research Design

The design of this research is based upon a qualitative version of the TAM, which has been tailored specifically to the needs of the German marketplace in light of the theoretical explanations and critiques in the literature review in section 2.2.2 (structural conditions) and section 2.2.3 (behavioural and cultural conditions). The analysis of the literature appears to suggest that there is a practical gap in the state of knowledge regarding the motivations of German consumers which may be potentially explained by wider external factors which are a combination of both structural conditions and behavioural conditions. It is clear from the existing theoretical and empirical explanations that German consumers do not lack access, but they are clearly unwilling to engage in online food retail in large numbers (Prause and Günther, 2019). Understanding these tacit barriers is key to articulating how online food delivery channels may tackle these issues and increase their penetration into the German marketplace.

Quantitative approaches can help shape determine the size or scale of the problem, but they do not necessarily easily articulate latent factors which are a combination of variables (Creswell and Creswell, 2017). Moreover, as will be discussed in depth in Chapter 3, a failure to ask suitable questions of research participants means that factors may go unreported or under-investigated because research participants have no opportunity to put forward their opinions as they are not asked the question. To this end, it has been determined that in this instance the perceived gap in knowledge will be best addressed with a qualitative research approach which is a bespoke semi-structured interview adapted from the TAM specifically to the German marketplace.

In total, 25 German students aged between 18-30 years have been asked for their opinions regarding online food retail channels, particularly identifying the motivations and de-motivations for its use, and encouraging consumers to share information around wider contextual factors, which, it is tentatively suggested, are a significant influencing element. The full detail of how this data has been captured is presented and justified in Chapter 3.

1.5 Dissertation Structure

To provide a clear research journey for the reader of this dissertation project, the research is split into a number of chapters which address the following aspects.

Chapter 1 - introduction to the study which describes the context and rationale, aim, objectives and research questions, outlines the research method and justification, and signposts the structure of the research project.

Chapter 2 - sets out the definitions of the research, a critique of the theoretical framework including an evaluation of TAM the core theoretical underpinning, with supplementary theoretical explanations in the form of structural and behavioural conditions. The chapter also provides a critical consideration of contemporaneous empirical findings relating to the factors supporting the use of online food delivery and also active barriers. This chapter articulates what is perceived as a current gap in the state of knowledge and visualises these in a conceptual framework which frames the methodological approach of this research.

Chapter 3 - describes and justifies the methodological approach of qualitative semi-structured interviews with 12 German consumers in regards to their attitudes and intent towards online food retail. On the basis of the gap in knowledge identified in chapter 2, the qualitative adaptation of the TAM is explained alongside methodological constructs relating to the structure of data collection and analysis and key points of good research practice relating to research ethics and data management.

Chapter 4 - presents the findings from the data collection, interpreting these findings through an analytical lens and inducing potential explanations from the findings regarding the behaviour and motivation of German consumers in relation to online food retail. This is consistent with the use of qualitative data collection and analysis and with the aim, objectives and research questions.

Chapter 5 - concludes the study, summarising the key findings from the data collection and analysis, and transforming these into practical recommendations for the online food delivery sector. Further, it sets out suggestions for further research and notes the limitations arising from this study.


2.1 Introduction

This chapter offers a critical review of theoretical literature and empirical evidence in relation to the subject of online food retail acceptance in Germany. As articulated in the previous chapter, this study aims to undertake a contemporaneous empirical test of the TAM - a theoretical framework originally developed by Davis et al., (1989) to explain the adoption of particular technological solutions and supporting and inhibiting factors. Since online food retailing is about a new technology in relation to the process of buying groceries, the TAM is very well suited to analyse consumer behaviour and, if necessary, take other external factors into account. The specific application in relation to online food ordering in Germany has been selected because of the knowledge from reputable empirical sources such as marketing consultants and business analysts (e.g. McKinsey, 2019; Mintel, 2019; Statista, 2019) that online food retail in much of Europe can be considered as ‘latent’. That is to say, the mechanisms and infrastructure exist for online food retail to be embraced by German consumers, but the adoption of this particular form of online retail appears to be far slower than might be theoretically envisaged in relation to other similar cultures and/or environments.

On the basis that online food retail has exploded in popularity in some parts of the world, particularly, the US, the UK and China, it is useful to contextualise the increased penetration online food retail. Evidence captured from industry bodies has reviewed the exponential increase in demand and supply for online food retail. For example, studies by McKinsey (2018), Mintel (2019) and Statistia (2019) concur that there has been a significant increase in demand, but they reach different conclusions as to the future anticipated demand and also degree of latency in the European market. This is another point of similarity, in so far as the evidence suggests that in mainland Europe there is much lesser demand for online food retail as compared to the UK (Mintel, 2019). The similarities in demand between the UK and the US suggest notable cultural similarities in consumer behaviour. Little empirical evidence shines a light on whether this is due to a lack of suitable food, or cultural preferences.

In a UK study, convenience of online retail, particularly in urban areas was attributed with a rapid rise in demand for online food retail (Statista, 2019). The study however focused particularly on urban areas, and also had a population sample of relatively young consumers which would suggest potential to some degree of confirmation bias in terms of research outcomes. Contrasting this with the study in northern Europe (across Scandinavia) regarding consumer attitudes towards increased penetration online food retail found very different results (Schramm-Nielsen, 2018). Consumers were indifferent towards the availability of online food retail, but unfortunately as a quantitative study it was difficult to ascertain why. This still appears to remain a gap in knowledge, as under certain theoretical principles as discussed above, such as consumer attitudes convenience and availability it would have been theorised that they would be popular demand for online food retail. The evidence, however, clearly suggests otherwise despite the rapidly increased penetration.

A study by Zhu and Semeijn (2015) cites convenience as the main driver of online food retail and it rapidly increased popularity. Again, however this study focused on busy urban consumers with ready and easy access to both technology and high quality delivered food. Cervellon et al., (2015) found in a comparable study of France, that consumer attitudes towards online food retail were markedly in different, and even though there was urban accessibility, it was almost an anathema to French consumers to eat food in this manner. The study also found that French consumers much prefer to choose fresh ingredients for themselves. This may provide some indication as to why there appears to be much lower adoption in mainland Europe because of deeply embedded cultural norms. Whilst it may on the face of it be convenient to purchase food that has been pre-prepared, it is not enjoyable, and many French consumers according to the study were suspicious of the potential content of the food much preferring to repair their own using fresh ingredients because they prefer the taste.

A number of studies have considered whether the rise in technology utilisation and availability has any relationship to the rise in online food ordering and found limited evidence of this despite attempts to actively look for such a relationship. A study by Ilyuk (2018) confirms that even if there is structural availability, i.e. good technology networks to facilitate technological ordering, reliability of these networks, access to the hardware to use them, and also even access to nearby food sources, none of these were as might be considered active drivers of online food retail. Whilst undoubtedly the availability made the conditions present, they were not enough to tip over into behavioural intention despite satisfying the conditions of perceived usefulness and perceived ease-of-use (Harris et al., 2017). In short, even though they were available consumers had little interest in using or intending to use indicating once again cultural factors are significant influencing variables.

Accordingly, after a small insight into empirical evidence was given, this chapter continues with a critique of the theoretical explanations for online food retail adoption, first specifically examining the TAM and its advantages and limitations in order to justify its inclusion as the core model of the study. Then, structural factors affecting online retail use are considered, that it is the existence of, access to, and reliability of infrastructure, and also demographic factors, such as cultural norms, age, income levels and personal preferences. Having considered the theoretical explanations of the situation, attention is directed towards noted barriers of online retail, this section articulates the perceived gap this research aims to consider. Collectively these factors are brought together in a conceptual framework in section 2.6 which is then used as the foundation for the remainder of this particular research study in practice.

2.2 Theoretical Framework

This section of the chapter considers the theoretical framework which may help to illuminate and provide possible explanations for consumer attitudes towards online food retail in Germany especially. It begins with a critical evaluation of the TAM, and then considers theoretical explanations relating to structural factors, and also theoretical explanations relating to demographic factors.

The Technology Acceptance Model

The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Fig. 1 ) was first proposed by Davis et al., (1989) as part of their research into the adoption and utilisation of technology in business environments. At the time, the use of computers in day-to-day business life was varied, in large part because of the cost of adopting computers and also in large part because of their size and relatively limited capability in the early days of their mainstream utilisation. In the TAM, Davis et al., (1989) theorised that users, typically employees, would actively or passively resist the utilisation of technology for a variety of reasons, some of which could be obviously and easily identified, such as whether a piece of technology was perceived to be actually useful and therefore worth bothering with, but also tacit factors such as fear of the use of technology, and also fear of appearing incapable. Ultimately, Davis et al., (1989) ascertained that a combination of factors influenced the ultimate behavioural intention to utilise a piece of technology. Further, and crucially, Davis et al., (1989) established that there can be a gap between what people say they will do and what people actually do and this gap can at least in part be explain by extraneous variables which may or may not be within the control of the organisation responsible for the technology.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Technology Acceptance Model (Davis et al., 1989, p.988)

Despite its age, the model still continues to have relevance as evidenced by its continuing utilisation in contemporaneous studies, and also the fact that fundamentally human nature is more enduring than certain technological developments. Chen and Lin (2018) reveal that the human factors identified in the TAM, such as perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use and attitude towards doing, still have relevance even 30 years after the model was published. Contemporaneous studies into consumer attitudes towards the use of particular apps for example reveal very similar findings insofar as consumers will use particular apps if they are easy and straightforward, appear to have relevance, and offer some benefit to the consumer (Oh, 2016). Equally, evidence finds that consumers may well state that they intend to use a particular piece of technology, but then fail to utilise it to its full extent (Brandon-Jones and Kauppi, 2018), which is a further illustration of the gap between what people say they will do and what they actually do for reasons which are either extraneous or unique to the users concerned. As such, it can be concluded that the TAM still has relevance as a contemporary means of framing and potentially understanding consumer attitudes towards technologically delivered services.

The TAM has been tested in a wide variety of situations, not purely related to business applications and the adoption of a new piece of software or a new information system within an organisation, which was the original intent. In a meta-analytic study, Hossain et al., (2019) reveal that the TAM has been tested successfully in both large and small organisations, in a variety of industry settings, using alternative forms of software and hardware, and also in several different cultural contexts. Throughout, the findings appear to have broad relevance, giving confidence in the suitability of the TAM as a theoretical framework for founding a piece of research. It must of course be acknowledged that the TAM has some limitations, in as far as by definition it is relatively generalised - without this it would not have endured the length of time it has had application across such a broad range of settings (Kim, 2016). The implications of this are that it is critically important to carefully define the parameters of its use in order to derive meaningful findings.

Moreover, the model offers no insight into what external variables might be influencing technology adoption and use. According to Chen and Lin (2018), it is therefore beholden on the researcher to derive this for themselves relative to the utilisation of the model. A further limitation is found in terms of actively measuring the constructs identified in the model, which will require relative scales to be prepared and tested in order to ascertain behavioural intent. It will be reasonable to assume that this can and does shift over time and according to context. For example, the majority of consumers in the modern day are quite comfortable with using online interactions on their mobile phone, but this would not have been the case even 10 years ago (Bellman et al., 2011). Context is therefore important in appreciating consumer attitudes and behaviours, and this is something which must be identified in order to contextualise the TAM when in use and produce meaningful research findings.

2.3 Structural Factors Affecting Online Retail Use

Having established that it is necessary to carefully consider the external factors which might influence the utilisation of a particular technological intervention, from a pragmatic standpoint Wang et al., (2013) suggest that it is important to consider structural factors affecting online retail use. Wang et al., (2013) consider structural factors to include fundamental aspects such as availability of software or technology, access to the same, and also reliability. Moreover, within the context of online food retail there are two aspects to consider, firstly the reliability and availability of technology, but also the availability of actual food delivery services within reasonable proximity (Kapoor and Vij, 2018). Simply because a country has the capacity to deliver online food retail, in the form of reliable internet service provision and also access to reasonable quality home delivered food and delivery network, this is not a guarantee that people will use the service. Furthermore, it is quite possible for there to be distinct regional variations in the availability of such services (Ray et al., 2019). In the UK as an example, and also in much of the US, densely populated urban areas typically benefit far more, and therefore utilise far more, internet services and also online delivery services. In rural areas, internet provision is unreliable, and there is a practical limitation to the delivery of online food due to geographic proximity (Yeo et al., 2019).

Baek and Kim (2018) theorise that these rather fundamental pragmatic factors have a considerable impact on consumer behaviour. Ray et al., (2019) point out that obviously if internet service provision is unreliable then there will be very limited likelihood of consumers using such app even if all other features were available - it will be just as well for the consumer themselves to go and collect the food from the retailer rather than attempt to wait for delivery which is inconvenient. Elmorshidy (2018) also points out that from a personal security perspective, some women who live on their own may be very reluctant order food delivery, and in effect give out their home address. It is such pragmatic factors which Ray et al., (2019) contend may help to explain some of the structural and/or behavioural factors affecting online use.

More fundamentally than this, Song et al., (2017) argue that if there is in fact no reasonable quality food service provision available (a user satisfaction perspective), then equally, consumers will not order. Tastes and preferences change according to cultural norms, and there are particular food items which are very popular in certain countries, but considered unpalatable in others. To some extent this overlaps with social and cultural norms and trends towards online food ordering, but fundamentally if there is no access to food which would be enjoyed through this channel then again consumers will not order. Kim et al., (2016) suggest that quite often, these very fundamental pragmatic factors are overlooked, and there is a prevailing assumption that consumer adoption will naturally radiate out from hubs of access. Ray et al., (2019) challenge this, suggesting that these structural factors are more pragmatic and influential in consumer decision-making then some of the business models of firms assume. To this end, it is important to evaluate the driving factors of consumer behaviour norms and factor these into acceptance and adoption of online food delivery.

The insights gained in this chapter will later be used in the empirical investigation to examine the extent to which structural factors - reliability and availability of technology aswell as availability of actual food delivery services within reasonable proximity - are actually a reason for the demand situation of German consumers.

2.4 Demographic Factors Affecting Online Retail Use

Iyer (2019) posits that alongside structural factors, such as access and availability, it is also necessary to consider demographic factors. These include age, cultural and social norms. It is lazy to suggest that older people do not like technology, as there is plentiful evidence to the contrary (Okumus and Bilgihan, 2014), but it is perhaps reasonable to consider that older consumers are less likely to consider online food retail as a primary option. Factors to build into this suggestion are found in the work of Alalwan (2020) who posits that older consumers are more conscious of their food consumption choices, and may well actually enjoy cooking for themselves meaning it is not a chore but something that they would actively prefer to do in which case they would be very unlikely to engage in online food retail. Pragmatically speaking, senior consumers who may not be able to afford online food retail (which is markedly more expensive than grocery shopping and home preparation could also be factor (Pan et al., 2017)).

Older consumers are also found to be more sceptical of the widespread usability of apps (Alalwan, 2020). Although there is certainly plentiful evidence of middle-age consumers and above using apps, they treat them as a tool rather than central feature, meaning attitude towards the utilisation is subtly differentiated. The implications of this are that older consumers would be more likely to disregard an app if they found it was in any way unsuitable for use as compared to younger consumers who are far more willing to persevere with technological solutions because they are more comfortable with technology (Ernsting et al., 2017). Younger consumers have also been brought up with and are embedded in the idea of technological solutions as a cultural norm, meaning they are more comfortable with the use of technology and are thus likely to consider a technological solution to a problem or need to be preferable. From this basis it is possible to start narrowing down the likely target consumer demographic who be willing to embrace online food at utilisation.

However, in counterpoint to this a number of studies show clear differential between distinct national cultures in terms of feelings towards online food retail and its utilisation (Jeon et al., 2016). As articulated in the opening chapter, market research studies by global consultancy groups have confirmed the perceived latency of the online food retail market generally in Germany and indeed other parts of Europe. As compared to similarly developed economies in terms of infrastructure and access, such as the US and the UK, Germany appears to lag markedly behind these marketplaces in terms of consumer adoption of online food retail (Prause and Günther, 2019). The consistent factor appears to be sociocultural norms in terms of attitude(s) towards ordering convenience food in Germany as a cultural norm. It is unusual, rather than normal and encouraging behavioural change in German consumers could well prove the main factor more so necessarily then technological adoption.

Furthermore, there is a reasonable likelihood in the view of Gupta (2019) of the self-fulfilling prophecy or symbiotic relationship between the lack of demand for online food retail providers, and therefore the lack of supply. Because it is not culturally normal in Germany to consume food in this manner, then there is little demand for online food retail providers, and thus there is little availability because these providers scan the market and ascertain that there is no demand. It would be unlikely, therefore, that development of a particular app would address this fundamental issue of supply and demand despite bringing it into popular consciousness. It suggests that other factors would need to change if online food retail was to be widely embraced in Germany and consumers actively engage in purchasing food in this manner.

2.5 Barriers to Online Food Retail - A Gap in the State of Knowledge

With regard to barriers to online food retail Prasad and Sharma (2016) offer a wider external perspective pointing out that in much of mainland Europe, unlike the UK and the US, there are much more stringent laws and regulations regarding working hours the implications of which are that people work far fewer hours, and there are markedly less instances of unsecured unstable and unsociable working conditions. As such, consumers have the time to shop for food and prepare it. The same cannot be easily said of much of the UK, and the US is different again in so far as it is often it is cheaper for people to ‘eat out’ then it is for them to purchase groceries and bring them home particularly in urban areas where housing is at complete premium and there is little space for food storage and preparation (Bianchi and Mortimer, 2015). Whilst on the one hand these factors might actually be considered a driver, i.e. it is more convenient due to external factors, the converse of this is that in places where it is easy to access food and there is space to live and work and good working conditions, and food is not a chore instead it is something to be enjoyed and therefore there is diminished demand for convenience online food retail.


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Consumer Behaviour in Online Grocery Retailing in Germany
University of Salford
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behaviour, consumer, germany, grocery, online, retailing
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Yasin Yilmaz (Author), 2020, Consumer Behaviour in Online Grocery Retailing in Germany, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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