GB grocery market: +11.4% over Christmas

Date : 05 January 2021

Lucy Ingram

Retail Analyst

In the 12 weeks to 27 December 2020 the grocery market grew +11.4%, the fastest rate since August 2020, according to Kantar.

Growth was driven by Christmas spending and changing shopping habits due to increased restrictions. Here we look at the results in more detail, including an overview of performance in the online and discount channels.

Record four weeks of sales

With the closure of restaurants and pubs in many areas, shoppers spent more in supermarkets than ever before. December was the busiest month on record, with £11.7bn spent on take home groceries in the four week period. This followed a busy October and November, when the market grew 11.3% (12 weeks to 29 November).

Ocado finishes the year as the fastest growing retailer

Ocado retained its spot as the fastest growing retailer in December, with sales +36.5%.

The retailer announced its Q4 results in early December, showing a revenue increase of 35% to GBP579.6m for the 13 weeks to 29 November 2020. If you are looking for more insight on Ocado, see our opinion piece, How will Ocado, and pureplays, annualise a year like no other? Subscribers can also access our recently updated strategic outlook for Ocado.

Digital orders across all retailers accounted for 12.6% of grocery spending during December, compared to 7.4% in 2019. This followed a record breaking November, when the online channel reached a record market share of 13.7%, with more than six million households buying groceries online, the highest month on record.

Retailers' online propositions continue to evolve, with this reporting period seeing retailers in the convenience channel look to tap into the rapid growth of the channel. In December;

Aldi is slowest growing retailer for the second month in a row

A mixed performance was seen for the discounters during this period. Lidl outperformed the market, with sales +15.2%, while Aldi grew sales below the market, at +6.3%. Both retailers lost market share in the reporting period, with their combined share at 13.5%, compared to 13.9% in the 12 weeks to 29 November 2020.

Aldi was the slowest growing retailer for the second month in a row. The discounter has now been growing slower than the market since April, whereas Lidl consistently grew faster than the market throughout the pandemic.

Aldi's own Christmas results reveal sales grew 10.6% in the four weeks to 24 December, compared with the same trading period a year ago. The retailer's 2020 Christmas growth was stronger in comparison to 2019's +7.9%. However, it was a slowdown from the previous heights of +15% seen in 2018.

At Lidl, the retailer used promotional tactics to entice shoppers into store in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with a £10 off money voucher in two national newspapers. The retailer's Christmas results have not yet been announced. Subscribers can keep up to date with the latest retailer performance data for the festive season as results are released in our UK Christmas 2020 results tracker

Detailed results

Retailer 12 weeks to 29th December 2019 12 weeks to 27th December 2020 Sales growth (Y-O-Y%)
Tesco 27.4% 27.3% 11.1%
Sainsbury's 16.0% 15.9% 10.7%
Asda 14.8% 14.3% 7.8%
Morrisons 10.3% 10.4% 13.1%
Aldi 7.8% 7.4% 6.3%
Co-op 6.1% 6.0% 9.8%
Lidl 5.9% 6.1% 15.2%
Waitrose 5.0% 5.0% 11.7%
Iceland 2.3% 2.5% 20.8%
Ocado 1.3% 1.6% 36.5%
Other Multiples 1.6% 1.8% 19.8%
Symbols & Independents 1.6% 1.7% 17.4%

Source: Kantar

Looking for more insight?

Subscribers can access our latest content rounding up 2020 and looking ahead to 2021;

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