When do Tesco delivery slots become available? [Analysis]

Loads of people are clearly struggling to book Tesco delivery slots, and with the coronavirus lockdown still in full swing, it has left many wondering what actual time new slots get added. They appear to be as rare as hen’s teeth and no amount of refreshing the website or app seems to make them appear!

But what time do they actually get added?

I wasn’t sure, so I set about writing a quick script to analyse exactly when Tesco adds new grocery delivery slots onto their website (tesco.com), making sure to re-ping the site every few minutes in the hope of grabbing some meaningful data for analysis.

Starting from 14th April 2020, my basic perl script has been collecting and storing information on delivery slots i.e.when they became available on the Tesco website for people to book.

Technical Limitations:

  • The script I created was quickly written in only a few hours. It’s never going to be 100% accurate, it was just something knocked up on a rainy afternoon.
  • Some timestamps are not 100% accurate (to the minute) as I could not scrape Tesco’s website too frequently or my IP addresses would possibly be banned.
  • I obtained these delivery slots via the website only. It’s not clear if the Tesco app might show different results, although I can’t see why it would.
  • This doesn’t apply to Click & Collect orders, just delivieries.

This isn’t scientific research nor has it been peer-reviewed, but I put it to the test and created a quick script to monitor it over a week or so. Here are the results.

 

Aren’t new Tesco delivery slots just added at midnight?

Firstly, let’s clear up some misinformation. No, they are not.

Spammy news websites like this one  are writing clickbait articles with dubious or even completely false information (their goal is to get you to click their article, then click their adverts; they don’t care for accuracy). This article clearly states that Tesco ‘adds new slots at midnight’:

But this is not true, according to my own testing. Nor have Tesco ever confirmed this is the case, so it’s difficult to know where this idea even comes from. Perhaps it is simply a case of a new day = new slots. But in any case, it doesn’t appear to be true.

 

Results by postcode: delivery slot availability

Quick summary: based on the last few days’ worth of data, I have concluded that:

  1. New Tesco delivery slots are actually released throughout the day. It seems to vary depending on the postcode.
  2. There are some basic patterns appearing: the time you’ll most likely be successful in getting a slot seems to be early/mid morning.
  3. On some days, no new slots were added at all.
  4. I never noticed any new slots available for more than 2-3 days ahead.

Here are the timestamps I collected, for each day, over the past 8 days – each table is for ONE postcode only. This is effectively when new slots first appeared on the Tesco.com Groceries website, for each postcode area  highlighted:

 

Postcode area: DA1 (Dartford, Kent)

Date Time added (UK)
28th April 2020 11:17:00
27th April 2020 12:09:00
26th April 2020 No Dates Added
25th April 2020 07:00:00
24th April 2020 04:58:00
23rd April 2020 No Dates Added
22nd April 2020 03:40:00
21st April 2020 08:00:00

 

Postcode area: ME3 (Medway)

Date Time added (UK)
28th April 2020 No Dates Added
27th April 2020 10:20:00
26th April 2020 No Dates Added
25th April 2020 09:53:00
24th April 2020 No Dates Added
23rd April 2020 16:07:00
22nd April 2020 22:04:00
21st April 2020 09:50:00

 

Postcode area: S21 (Sheffield)

Date Time added (UK)
28th April 2020 04:55:00
27th April 2020 00:12:00
26th April 2020 No Dates Added
25th April 2020 14:15:00
24th April 2020 04:58:00
23rd April 2020 No Dates Added
22nd April 2020 14:38:00
21st April 2020 18:15:00

 

Postcode area: CF10 (Cardiff)

Date Time added (UK)
28th April 2020 17:50:00
27th April 2020 17:18:00
26th April 2020 14:50:00
25th April 2020 12:46:00
24th April 2020 12:18:00
23rd April 2020 No Dates Added
22nd April 2020 13:40:00
21st April 2020 04:04:00

 

Postcode area: G2 (Glasgow)

Date Time added (UK)
28th April 2020 No Dates Added
27th April 2020 No Dates Added
26th April 2020 No Dates Added
25th April 2020 10:10:00
24th April 2020 14:59:00
23rd April 2020 No Dates Added
22nd April 2020 No Dates Added
21st April 2020 12:05:00

 

All times are UK time i.e. GMT+1 / BST

Conclusion

I wanted to choose a fairly diverse set of locations across the UK, hence some postcodes are in Scotland and some are in the SE of England, to give the widest result set.

It would be great to be able to collate all delivery information for thousands of postcodes but I don’t think this is possible unless Tesco release that kind of data (which seems unlikely).

What’s more, I didn’t want to push this too hard; risking getting the IP address banned for scraping is never good, so that is why there are only a few locations. But hopefully it should give you an idea of when the best time to check for delivery slots is, at the very least… the answer is: clearly, there is no ‘best’ time!

But at least you know now to stop wasting time refreshing the app at midnight!

 

What about Click & Collect slots?

Although I didn’t track Click & Collect specifically here, the story is pretty much the same; anecdotally I noticed that upon manual testing & checking, whenver delivery slots became available, so did Click & Collect slots.

 

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