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UK Insights

Health hits the aisles as UK supermarket sales continue to grow

Fraser McKevitt

Head of Retail and Consumer Insight

Shoppers 06.02.2018 / 08:00


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The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that grocery sales increased in value by 3.4% year on year.

Despite a seasonal dip in shopper spend post-Christmas, the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks to 28 January 2018, show that grocery sales increased in value by 3.4% compared with this time last year.

Following a record-breaking Christmas, January saw customers rein in their spending, with shoppers spending £1.6 billion less in the grocers compared with the month before.  Households saved £63.04 on average over January compared to December 2017: customers spent £3.39 less every time they shopped and sales of premium own-label products nearly halved.

New Year’s resolutions also had an impact on the grocery market. As consumers look to more healthy alternatives following the holiday, trends like Veganuary have taken off and now 29% of evening meals contain no meat or fish at all**.  This sustained interest in vegan and vegetarian diets is reflected in the chilled aisles – over January, one in ten shoppers bought a meat-free ready meal, causing sales to rocket by 15% compared to this time last year. Sales of spinach, cherries and aubergine also grew strongly compared to the past 12 months – up 43%, 25% and 23% respectively.   

Despite a renewed focus on healthy eating, the cold weather has taken its toll on Britons, as has a national outbreak of influenza. January sales of over-the-counter painkillers rose 12%, while cough sweets and liquids increased by 17% as shoppers tried to tackle seasonal colds.

Cherries

Lidl once again was crowned the UK’s fastest-growing retailer. The discounter experienced a market share increase of 0.5 percentage points and saw sales climb by 16.3% compared to this time last year. Traditionally focused on own-label lines, Lidl has actually seen fastest growth among its branded products, which are up by 28% and now account for 12% of all sales. Not to be outdone, Aldi also increased sales by 16.2% to hold a market share of 6.9% – up 0.7 percentage points.  Aldi experienced particular success with its premium ‘Specially Selected’ range, which saw sales climb by £26 million.

Although its market share fell by 0.3 percentage points to 27.8%, Tesco still remains the fastest growing of the big four, with sales up by 2.6%. Despite shoppers increasingly opting for vegan options, such as the grocer’s new ‘Wicked Kitchen’ range, Tesco saw the greatest sales growth from its dairy and produce lines. 

Asda and Morrisons both experienced sales growth of 2.2%, though lost market share, each down 0.2 percentage points compared to this time last year.  Asda encouraged shoppers to add extra items to their baskets while customers made an additional five million trips to Morrisons compared to this time last year. 

An extra 311,000 shoppers chose to shop at Sainsbury’s, with shoppers particularly engaging with the supermarket’s Local convenience stores and online offer. Sales at the grocer increased by 1.5% despite market share falling by 0.3 percentage points to 16.2%. 

Still feeling the effect of selling nearly 300 stores to McColls, Co-op’s market share dropped by 0.2 percentage points to stand at 5.8%, having experienced sales growth of -0.1%. Waitrose grew overall sales by 1.5% but saw market share fall by 0.1 percentage points. 

Iceland experienced its 23rd period of consecutive growth – a run dating back to May 2016 – with sales up by 1.6%. Amid the news that the supermarket plans to remove plastic from all its own-label products by 2023, Iceland held market share steady at 2.3%. 

Internet-only retailer Ocado continued its rapid sales growth – up 7.8% – to hold market share at 1.3%.

Source : Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's Notes

*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.

**Kantar Worldpanel Usage panel, proportion of meat and fish free savoury evening meals.

 

An update on inflation: Grocery inflation now stands at +3.6%* for the 12 week period ending 28 January 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 skin care, and are falling in only a few markets, including laundry detergents, washing up products and fresh poultry.

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 28 January 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.

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