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Asda and Sainsbury's raise price of many delivery slots in online groceries shake-up

Asda and Sainsbury's are making big changes to what they charge for online grocery deliveries, with many shoppers set to pay more as a result. 

Asda customers will see prices hiked across most of its standard delivery slots, and vulnerable shoppers will have to start paying for deliveries, while Sainsbury's has completely rejigged its pricing structure –  the price of its cheapest one-hour delivery slot has quadrupled and is now £2, though some slots will also be getting cheaper. The announcements come after Tesco axed its cheapest delivery slots earlier this year.

We've full info on what's happening and how to bag the cheapest delivery prices below – for much more help on how to cut the cost of your weekly shop, see our Supermarket Shopping Tips.

How is Asda changing online delivery prices?

Asda has increased its delivery fees in two key ways:

  • Most delivery slots will cost more. The cost of individual slots always depends on the day, time and store, but most slots are getting pricier:

    - Old price: Until Thursday 12 November, the slots cost £1-£6.
    - New price: From Thursday 12 November, slots cost £1-£7, though that may not tell the full picture. Asda hasn't given full details, but it does say the cost of most slots have gone up across the board. The key is to check when ordering to get a flavour of what's happening to your regular slot (if you have one).
  • Vulnerable shoppers now have to pay for delivery, and Asda has a standard surcharge on smaller orders. Earlier in the coronavirus crisis, those who are considered vulnerable were given priority deliveries until 31 March 2021.

    Until Sunday 1 November, these shoppers had been eligible for free deliveries with no minimum order threshold. However, they must now pay Asda's standard delivery fees, while Asda's £3 minimum delivery surcharge – which you must pay if your order is under £40 – now applies to vulnerable shoppers too.

Asda won't tell us how many customers will pay more for delivery as a result, but millions use its online delivery service, and 190,000 vulnerable or self-isolating shoppers have received free deliveries so far this year.

The supermarket's also said it's axing its recurring delivery slots between 19 December 2020 and 2 January 2021. These are usually reserved for regular shoppers who book a delivery for the same time and day each week, but those customers will now have to battle to secure delivery slots over the busy festive period.

Here are a few of the comments we've seen from Asda shoppers on social media:

How is Sainsbury's changing online delivery prices?

Sainsbury's has implemented a more wide-ranging shake-up of its online delivery prices. It's been gradually rolling these changes out across the country and says they've applied across the UK since last Friday (13 November). Here's what's happening:

  • The cost of some one-hour delivery slots is rising, though others are getting cheaper. The cost depends on the day, time and size of your order, but here's how prices are changing:

    - Old price: Until Friday 13 November, most £40+ orders cost 50p-£7.
    - New price: From Friday 13 November, most £40+ orders cost £2-£4.50, so there will be winners and losers, though Sainsbury's hasn't said how many there will be of each.
    - What's NOT changing: Orders below £40 will continue to cost a flat £7 delivery, while orders of £100+ which are booked for delivery from Monday to Thursday after 2pm will continue to be delivered for free. The Sainsbury's minimum order threshold also remains at £25.
  • You can now book cheap four-hour delivery slots for £1 if you're flexible. With these, you reserve a slot over four hours and only find out the exact hour of delivery on the day. The supermarket says these "saver slots" will allow it to offer more customers £1 delivery slots, although shoppers will obviously now need a degree of flexibility to sign up to these.

Here are a couple of comments we've seen from customers on social media:

Unhappy with the price changes? How to cut the cost of deliveries

Sadly, there's nothing you can do about the price changes themselves, but there are ways you can get around them and cut the cost of your grocery delivery. Here are some key tips:

  • Check for a less popular time to bag the cheapest delivery slots. When you book your shopping online, you should see delivery fees vary depending on the day and time – so have a play around to see if you can find cheaper slots. These are likely to be available at the least convenient times, such as early afternoons or late at night on weekday evenings.

  • Consider click and collect, or shopping in-store if you can. Of course, not everyone will be able to travel or will want to shop in-store, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. But if you can, it is a cheaper option. 

    If you want to save time by shopping online but don't want to pay for the privilege, then consider using click and collect, where you pick up goods at an allotted time and store instead. This will continue to be free at Asda, while at Sainsbury's it's free on orders of £40 and more – orders under £40 cost £4.

  • Get a delivery pass if you're a regular online shopper. Most supermarkets offer some kind of delivery pass, whether monthly, annually or at another interval. These are basically delivery season tickets which cover the cost of regular deliveries for a one-off fee. Asda's delivery pass is currently closed for new joiners, although existing customers can renew. Annual passes from Sainsbury's are still available to new customers, and cost £60 for a year (or £30 for a year if you choose midweek deliveries only).

  • Switch to a rival supermarket – but factor in the cost of groceries as well as delivery. It's always worth comparing prices, and it may be possible to save by switching to another supermarket – have a look at delivery prices in your area and at your preferred times. However, remember that any savings you make on the cost of delivery may be dwarfed by differences in the price of the groceries themselves. So look at the total cost of the shop and not just the delivery fee when working out which is cheapest.

  • Order via Amazon, Deliveroo or Uber Eats. Sign up to Amazon Prime, which costs £79 a year (or £39 a year if you're a student) and you can get free deliveries if you order £40 or more (it's £3.99 if you order less than this, plus there's a £15 minimum spend) using its Fresh grocery service, which also includes a Morrisons range.

    Elsewhere, shoppers can get Aldi and Co-op groceries delivered via delivery firm Deliveroo. Uber Eats and Deliveroo also cover corner shops and off-licences. If they operate in your area, it's worth checking what groceries might be available. Fees vary depending on the retailer, how far you live from it, and the order size.

For more general cost-cutting help, see our Supermarket Shopping Tips.

How do supermarket delivery charges compare?

Here's a quick summary of how delivery fees from the big supermarkets stack up – so you can see how Asda and Sainsbury's compare:

Grocery delivery costs by supermarket

Supermarket Standard single delivery cost & min spend Delivery plan (ie, offers 'free' deliveries) (1)
Amazon Fresh Free on £40+ orders, £3.99 on £15-£40, £15 min. Prime subscription (£7.99/mth or £79/yr) required N/A
Asda £1-£7 on £40+ orders, extra £3 on under £40. No min £115/yr (£24/yr for midweek delivery only) (2)
Iceland Free on £35+ orders, £2 on £25-£35. £25 min N/A
Morrisons £1.70-£6.90 on £40+ orders (3) £8/mth or £65/yr (£5/mth or £35/yr midweek delivery)
Ocado Free on £75+ orders, £2.99-£6.99 on £40-£75. £40 min £10.99/mth or £131.88/yr (£6.99/mth or £83.88/yr midweek delivery)
Sainsbury's Free on £100+ orders Mon-Thu after 2pm. £2-£4.50 on £40+ (or or £1 for 4hr slots), £7 on £25-£40. £25 min £60/yr (£30/yr midweek delivery)
Tesco £4.50 on £40+ orders (£5.50 when from "customer fulfilment centre"), extra £4 on under £40. No min £7.99/mth or £95.88/yr (2)
Waitrose  Free on £40+ orders. £40 min N/A

Fees may vary for same-day delivery. (1) Covers fees for all deliveries in a set period – we've shown some options, others may be avail. Min basket may differ. (2) Paused for new customers, but existing shoppers can renew. (3) Also offers free delivery for vulnerable shoppers who call its phone line and order from 47 grocery items.

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