Amazon has launched a British version of its AmazonFresh food delivery service, as the online retailer attempts to break into the UK grocery market and compete with delivery offerings from established supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.
The UK online grocery market is one of the most developed in the world, with all four big supermarket chains having established online ordering and delivery services, as well as specialist delivery firm Ocado. Still, the market is predicted to nearly double over the next five years, to £17.2bn, leaving plenty of room for Amazon to expand into.
"We are launching with a comprehensive offer in a limited area and will take our time to hone and improve our service," said Ajay Kavan, vice president of AmazonFresh. "We will be very methodical and considered in how we roll this service out further in the UK."
The limited launch will focus on central and east London, making use of a distribution centre east of the capital, and will make use of small and medium-sized external carriers for deliveries as it serves this area.
Shoppers in London postcodes that are eligible for the service and are already members of Amazon Prime will be able to choose from a range of more than 130,000 products, including tens of thousands of grocery items.
Morrisons are providing some of the fresh and frozen products, having struck a wholesale supply deal with Amazon in February. As well as popular brands, the service will include products from local food producers and shops sourced from locations like London's Borough Market.
The rise of discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl in the past 10 years has helped to disrupt the grocery market in the UK, and experts believe that the launch of AmazonFresh has the potential to have a significant impact, despite the maturity of existing British delivery services.