GB grocery market sees fastest growth on record

Nick Gladding
Senior Retail Analyst
@RetailAnalysis

Date : 01 April 2020

Market growth for the 12 weeks to 22nd March was +7.6%, the fastest rate in over a decade, according to Kantar. The rapid growth was driven by a 20.6% surge in sales over the last four weeks – equivalent to an extra £10.8bn of spending - as shoppers stocked up on groceries and switched back to retail from out-of-home consumption in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Huge increase in spending

For the first time since October 2018, all of the ten tracked retailers were simultaneously in growth. This was driven by people making additional shopping trips and buying slightly more rather than a widespread increase in very large trolleys.  The average household spent an extra £62.92 during the last four weeks, equivalent to five days worth of groceries. Spending rose most in London where infection rates are highest, up by 26%.during the month. There was also a big increase from households with children over the age of 16 as students returned from college and university, up £88.13 on a year ago to £508 this month.

Boost for larger stores

Over the past four weeks, sales through larger stores operated by the Big Four, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl were 19% higher than in March 2019 as shoppers’ favoured stores designed to support larger shopping missions. The market share of the Big Four alone picked up 0.2 percentage points to 68.3% in the 12 weeks to March 22nd, reversing a long term decline. Within this group, sales growth at Sainsbury’s accelerated most - from 0.3% to 7.4% -  significantly ahead of Tesco, Asda and Morrisons. For more insight on how the Big Four are responding, click here.

Surge in online sales

Grocery spend online was 13% higher than the same period of 2019 as shoppers rushed to secure all available delivery slots. The average order size reached £81.88, over £6 more than in March 2019, with 14.6% of households receiving an online delivery in the last four weeks, up from 13.8% a year ago.

Aldi reaches record market share

The discounters continued to advance strongly, with Lidl achieving astonishing growth of 17.6% and Aldi reaching a record high market share of 8.2%. Both Aldi and Lidl have introduced measures in store to help shoppers and staff. They are also actively recruiting new team members. Read more about the responses from discounters in UK and Ireland here. 

Iceland sees step change in growth

Compared to the previous 12 week period, Iceland was the biggest winner, with sales growth jumping from 1.7% in February to 11.7% in March. In response to the current situation, it has introduced measures to help enforce social distancing, adapted its store opening hours and limited its online service to address current challenges. It is also encouraging shoppers to donate to the National Emergencies Trust on its website and through social media.

Click here for more insight on what Iceland is doing in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Waitrose growth highest since 2013

Waitrose saw an 8.8 percentage point increase on the previous 12 week period, growing from -1.3% in February to 7.5% in March, its fastest growth rate since 2018. For more insight visit the latest responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from Waitrose and M&S.

Local shops see a boost

Independent retailers and symbols (including Spar, Nisa, Premier, Londis and Costcutter) collectively saw sales rise by 16.1% in this period, as shoppers looked for convenience. Co-op was also helped by this trend, attracting people looking to shop locally in its smaller stores. The retailer saw sales its increase by 9.4%.

Find more insight on small stores responses to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) here;

Detailed results

 

 

Retailer

12 weeks to 24th March 2019

12 weeks to 22nd March 2020

Sales growth (Y-O-Y%)

Tesco

27.3%

26.8%

5.5%

Sainsbury's

15.3%

15.3%

7.4%

Asda

15.4%

15.0%

4.9%

Morrisons

10.3%

10.0%

4.6%

Aldi

8.0%

8.2%

11.0%

Co-op

6.1%

6.2%

9.4%

Lidl

5.6%

6.1%

17.6%

Waitrose

5.0%

5.0%

7.5%

Iceland

2.1%

2.2%

11.7%

Ocado

1.4%

1.5%

12.5%

Other Multiples

1.8%

1.9%

13.7%

Symbols & Independents

1.7%

1.9%

16.1%

 

Source: Kantar

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