Research by Evolution Insights, which quizzed 1,002 shoppers and 13 online shops, shoed that 45% of grocery consumers shopped online at least "occasionally" but these shoppers had a greater "focus", with 75% going directly to favourites or to items typed directly into search bars.
Fewer than one in five shoppers began their search with special offers, the research found.
Mobile websites offered a disappointing experience, according to another survey, with less than a quarter of fashion retailers allowing consumers to buy via mobile.
James Johnson, lead analyst at Evolution Insights said: "Our research shows that shoppers actively use their favourites and basket total to control spend and avoid temptation.
"And while more than half do visit the special offers pages later in their shop, we know from our accompanied shops that the majority only skim them briefly just before checking out," he said.
Recipe and meal suggestions were shown to be unsuccessful, with just 5% of shoppers moving to recipe pages.
Johnson added: "Special offers and shopper marketing is too often poorly targeted online. For online grocery shoppers, it’s more about relevance than aggressive discounting – a common complaint among shoppers is the lack of relevant offers and suggestions online.
"Retailers and brand manufacturers still have a long way to go to unlock the full potential of personalisation in online grocery marketing."
Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) suggested that of 57 major fashion retailers, just 23% had mobile-ready websites that could allow users to buy a pair of socks.
Ben Cusack, MIG's group marketing director, said: "With the continued growth of smartphones and the mobile internet, m-commerce has rapidly grown in to a huge opportunity for the retail sector.
"The Sock Report clearly demonstrates that the fashion subset of the retail sector is lagging behind somewhat and, since we know that consumers’ online behaviour extends right in to the mobile channel, clearly there are huge gains to be made with a transactional m-commerce strategy in 2011," he said.
Evolution estimates the value of the UK online grocery market in 2010 at £4.2bn.
One in five shoppers are predicted to use mobile platforms to shop this Christmas, with the UK showing the largest growth in smartphone use in the EU.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk