The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show take-home grocery sales growth slowed to 14.4% year on year during the 12 weeks to 9 August 2020. The market is beginning to move away from the heady heights of the lockdown period. Grocery spend of £9.7 billion over the past four weeks makes it the lowest since February, although this is still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: “While things are far from normal, the data shows a gradual softening of the more extreme lockdown trends in the grocery market. The relaxing of rules across much of the country means shoppers are less inclined to stock up their cupboards with regular large trips. That has seen average spend drop below £25 for the first time since March. However, at £24, it is still a world away from the pre-Covid average of £19 per trip.
“Although the current average of 14 shopping trips per month per household is lower than it was last month, it is higher than in April and May, when lockdown rules were much tighter. So, while some consumers have shopped more often in the past month, the story varies in different parts of the country, with localised lockdowns and slower openings resulting in people making fewer trips in the North, the Midlands and Wales.”
This period saw the introduction of mandatory face coverings for visiting shops in England. The number of supermarket trips was two million lower than would have usually been expected in the week after the rule was adopted, and currently just over half of shoppers say they feel safe in stores. That suggests the public may need time to adjust to the new regulations, and they now have to plan ahead for every shopping trip.
One of the most significant lockdown trends, online shopping, reached another new record market share in the latest four weeks – with 13.5% of all sales now ordered through the internet. Ocado has been a major beneficiary of this, and it also hit a new record this month, registering a market share of 1.8% over the past 12 weeks and growth of 45.5%.
Elsewhere, wider economic issues will continue to dictate how the market performs, as Charlotte Scott explains: “With the country officially entering recession last week, atypical behaviours are likely to continue. During a recession we would generally expect shoppers to manage their spend more carefully. Early evidence suggests that most are not yet choosing to trade down, with brands and premium own label lines currently performing well, however price cuts have increased compared with July as some people look for opportunities to save.”