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UK Insights

The Beast from the East fails to freeze grocery sales

Fraser McKevitt

Head of Retail and Consumer Insight

Shoppers 04.04.2018 / 08:00


Kantar
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Grocery sales have increased in value by 2.5% compared to this time last year, says Kantar Worldpanel.

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks to 25 March 2018, show that grocery sales have increased in value by 2.5% compared to this time last year... despite adverse weather conditions disrupting shoppers.

The Beast from the East did play havoc with consumers’ usual shopping plans. In the run up to and during the cold snap, shoppers stockpiled groceries, buying 4% more items than normal, increasing the average value of a trip from £14.99 to £15.80. However, they simultaneously visited stores 5% less often as they stayed wrapped up at home, meaning overall lost sales from the storm were minimised to £22 million. Warming foods and drinks were the go-to items for customers after braving the snowy weather – sales of hot beverages and tinned soup grew by 8.4% and 27.5% respectively over the past month.

An earlier Easter this year compared to 2017 motivated consumers into starting their Easter weekend shopping during the month of March. Despite average prices jumping by 35p to £1.83, Easter eggs were rolling off the shelf in March with sales up 69% compared to this time last year. Almost 15 million shoppers picked up Easter eggs last month while the average household, tempted by promotional offers, was swayed into buying at least two Easter eggs to meet their seasonal chocolate fix. Hot cross buns also saw a steep rise, with sales up £7.7 million compared to this time last year.

Easter -eggs

The discounters – Aldi and Lidl – continue to make their mark, with both retailers achieving new market share highs. Growing sales by 10.7%, Aldi increased market share by 0.5 percentage points to reach a 7.3% share of the market, while Lidl clocked in year-on-year sales growth of 10.3% to reach a 5.3% share. 

Aldi and Lidl are continuing to disrupt the market. As the discounters proceed with the expansion of their store portfolios, over the past 12 weeks 63.5% of all households visited at least one of the retailers.

Over the past 12 weeks, Tesco experienced a sales increase of 2.4% to hold market share steady at 27.6% – the first time it has held share since December 2016 – attracting an additional 262,000 customers through its doors. The retailer saw sales growth of branded goods overtake own-label groceries for the first time since June 2015. 

Morrison’s also saw sales increase by 2.4%, with a resulting market share of 10.4%. Growth at the retailer was helped by a strong performance in online sales, with Morrison’s e-commerce offering proving particularly popular among younger, more affluent shoppers.       

Despite encouraging shoppers to up the size of their baskets by 2.4% – the fastest increase experienced amongst the big four – Asda’s market share fell back by 0.2 percentage points to 15.6%. Sainsbury’s also saw market share drop – down 0.3 percentage points to 15.8% – despite sales growth of 0.6%. The retailer has continued its move away from promotions: only 32.7% of sales at Sainsbury’s were achieved while a product was on offer. 

Co-op saw sales increase by 0.1%, with the disposal of 300 stores to McColl’s still impacting performance. Waitrose also experienced sales growth – up 1.5% year-on-year – while its market share fell by 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%. After two years of continuous growth, Iceland saw sales fall by 0.8% over the past 12 weeks and dropped market share to 2.1%. 

Online sales growth continues to slow, now only increasing by 3.6% compared to this time last year. Ocado outperformed the overall online market with sales growth of 9.3%, to hold market share at 1.2%.     

Source : Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's Notes

Please note: Kantar Worldpanel supermarket share data has been reworked as of March 2018, effective from the release covering the 12 w/e 25 February 2018.  This is part of an ongoing process to ensure we maintain the best and most accurate read of the grocery market.  The change has had a marginal impact on retailer shares and reported performance; growth trends remain unaffected as historical data has been reworked for consistency.  

For reworked 12 w/e historical data please contact us.

Please note that four week ending or six week ending retailer share data should not be used in media reporting. The 12 week ending data stated in this release covers a longer time period which means it is a superior indicator of retailer performances and trends.

For all publicly-quoted Worldpanel data, users of our research (including media) must ensure that data is sourced to ‘Kantar Worldpanel’.

These findings are based on Kantar Worldpanel data for the 12 weeks to 25 March 2018. Kantar Worldpanel monitors the household grocery purchasing habits of 30,000 demographically representative households in Great Britain. All data discussed in the above announcement is based on the value of items being bought by these consumers.

An update on inflation

Grocery inflation now stands at +2.5%* for the 12 week period ending 25 March 2018.  Prices have been rising since the 12 weeks to 1 January 2017, following a period of grocery price deflation which ran for 30 consecutive periods from September 2014 to December 2016.  Prices are rising fastest in markets such as butter, fresh fish and fresh pork, fresh lamb, and are falling in only a few markets, including laundry detergents and ambient cooking sauces.

*This figure is based on over 75,000 identical products compared year-on-year in the proportions purchased by shoppers and therefore represents the most authoritative figure currently available. It is a ‘pure’ inflation measure in that shopping behaviour is held constant between the two comparison periods – shoppers are likely to achieve a lower personal inflation rate if they trade down or seek out more offers.

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