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Take-home grocery sales skyrocket amid virus lockdown

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British take-home grocery sales rose by 14.3% during the 12 weeks to 17 May, the fastest rate since comparable records began in 1994, according to the latest figures released by Kantar today.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, comments: “The most recent three-month period now includes both the pre-lockdown rush to the shops in March, and eight weeks of stay-at-home advice from Government – a combination which has resulted in the fastest growth in take-home grocery sales for over 25 years.

While these are bumper figures, it remains true that the overall picture for some grocers will be less positive, as supermarkets continue to feel the impact of a considerable reduction in on-the-go spend on meals, drinks and snacks.  Those categories usually add up to £1 billion over the course of 12 weeks and they aren’t included in these numbers.”

In the latest four weeks to 17 May, take-home grocery sales growth accelerated to 17.2% year on year as the Government announced the first stage of easing lockdown restrictions.

Fraser McKevitt comments: “In the most recent four weeks, the trend towards fewer, larger shops that we saw in April broadly continued.  Shoppers visited the supermarket 3.5 times per week on average, meaning 100 million fewer trips overall than the same month last year, and increased their spend each trip to £27.41 – nearly 50% more than they did during normal times.

“People have been working their way through their store cupboards over the past couple of months and some will now be spending a bit more on each visit to the supermarket to replenish supplies.

The greatest rise in spending has been among families with children over the age of 16 living at home, reaching £618 on average this month compared with £545 last May, as they continue to cater for more people living under one roof and compensate for meals not eaten at work, school or college, or while socialising with friends”.

Some of this spend has been directed online, and shoppers trying to make use of delivery services when they can have increased digital sales by 75%.

Fraser McKevitt comments: “Online shopping now accounts for 11.5% of all grocery sales, gaining more ground and attracting more new shoppers in 2020 than the channel has in the previous five years.

The retailers have done a brilliant job of reacting to a sudden spike in demand by increasing their online capacity, and it’s meant that nearly one in five British households ordered groceries online in the most recent four weeks, 1.6 million more than this time last year.  And it’s not just groceries experiencing a boom – people missing their favourite restaurants and wanting to treat themselves have pushed takeaway deliveries up by 250% year on year.

“While the gains made by online shopping are unlikely to be sustained at these levels, the crisis has certainly accelerated the move towards online.  The grocers have attracted a new group of customers, in particular older demographics, and we expect some of them may continue using online services and enjoying the convenience that home delivery provides.”




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