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UK Insights

UK grocery market reaches two-year growth milestone

Fraser McKevitt

Head of Retail and Consumer Insight

Shoppers 26.06.2018 / 08:00


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Britain’s grocery sector has now witnessed two years of continuous growth, according to the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

The Kantar Worldpanel grocery market share figures, published today for the 12 weeks to 17 June 2018, show that supermarket sales have risen for 25 consecutive periods and now stand at 2.1% compared with this time last year, with a decline last recorded in June 2016.  

After a couple of difficult years for the supermarkets this sustained period of growth is welcome news. The latest figures largely pre-date the soaring temperatures and new-found optimism for England’s World Cup chances but with the nation spending over half a billion more in supermarkets this period compared with last year, it suggests that summer has already arrived for many. 

Shoppers have already splashed out 6% more on spirits, and gin sales alone have increased by £38 million and 1.7 million litres, while soft drinks are up 7%. Consumers are also feeling some seasonal downsides – sales of hay fever remedies are up by 19% year-on-year and have been bought by 5.7 million households, reflecting Met Office predictions of record pollen levels.

Gin -tonic

Among the big four supermarkets, Morrisons was again the fastest growing, posting a sales increase of 1.9% – narrowly behind the overall market. Consumers have responded very well to Morrisons’ wonky fruit and vegetable lines – these have more than tripled in sales and now feature in 12% of baskets, helping the retailer’s cheapest tier of own label products grow by a remarkable 18%. The retailer was also helped by double digit growth in online sales, though its overall share fell by 0.1 percentage points to 10.6%. 

Potential partners Asda and Sainsbury’s have recorded quite different performances over the past 12 weeks. More than a quarter of a million new customers have helped Asda increase sales by 1.8% – its 16-period run of growth is the longest the retailer has achieved since March 2014. In contrast, Sainsbury’s sales fell by 0.2%. The grocer sold an extra £60 million of goods on promotion this year and while this helped attract 159,000 new customers and the retailer simultaneously delivered a strong online performance, Sainsbury’s overall share fell by 0.4 percentage points to 15.6%.

Sales grew by 1.4% at Tesco with the strongest performance in its Express convenience stores, though overall the retailer’s market share decreased to 27.7% from 27.9% a year ago. Meanwhile, Co-op recorded its strongest growth in over a year as sales grew by 2.4%, and its market share grew by 0.1 percentage points to 6.2%. Iceland has held its share in the market, of 2.2%, as sales grew by 2.5%. 

While overseas deals have buoyed Ocado’s share price, the UK delivery business has also nudged up its grocery market share by 0.1 percentage points – its sales growth of 10.1% makes it the fastest growing UK supermarket. 

With regards to the discounters, Lidl’s 10.0% sales growth makes it the only bricks and mortar retailer to experience double digital growth, and as a major sponsor of England’s World Cup squad it will be hoping to see the team’s success so far translate into even higher growth in July. Its growing range of branded goods will play a role here – they’re already up 33% in sales and should help attract an increasingly diverse range of customers through the door. Yet while Lidl is the champion in terms of growth this period, it is Aldi that has edged up to a new record high market share – it now stands at 7.4% thanks to sales growth of 8.2%.

Waitrose sales have risen by only 0.1%, however this does mean the John Lewis-owned retailer has grown continually since March 2009 – an unbroken run of success that is only bettered in length by Aldi and Lidl.

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 or more information, 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.

Retailer growth figures reported by Kantar Worldpanel relate to overall take home sales, and so include the impact of store openings or closures. Like-for-like sales change is not measured or reported. Calculating like-for-like sales requires a detailed knowledge of store openings and extensions which is information held accurately only by individual retailers.

Kantar Worldpanel will only support data that is published in the context we have presented it and our own interpretation of these findings. Our commentary is based upon our own data and information in the public domain. We cannot be held responsible for any other interpretation of these findings.

An update on inflation

Grocery inflation now stands at +1.9%* for the 12 week period ending 17 June 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, colas and canned fish. 

*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’s data visualisation tool allows you to view and analyse Grocery Market Share data online. The latest sales share figures for all of the major grocers can be viewed and compared with historical figures here and all graphics within the Kantar Worldpanel dataviz are available to embed in your site. (Optimal viewing in recent versions of Internet Explorer or Chrome). 

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