Shoppers spent less in October 2018 compared to the same time last year. New data released today by Nielsen shows headline growth in the last four weeks was +1.5%, a slow-down in spending from +1.9% during the previous four week period, and a stark contrast to the +3.1% for the equivalent period last year. As inflation is broadly the same as it was this time last year, the caution that shoppers are displaying in other retail and leisure sectors may be influencing spend in grocery.
However, in-store Christmas promotions are making an impact in the final week of this latest period measured. Consumers are already making the most of in-store alcohol offers, typically the first in-store promotion to be introduced by retailers in the pre-Christmas period. In the week ending 3rd November, the first indication of a seasonal sales uplift came through in the Beers, Wines and Spirits category with value growth of +4.9% and +8% for Sparkling Wines.
The full impact of Christmas promotions and advertising will be felt in four weeks’ time. It’s already notable that the major food retailers have spent 13% less on above the line media spend so far in 2018 with Tesco the biggest spender, and only Asda and Aldi spending more **.
Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, said: “Both in store promotions and media campaigns are more crucial than ever for the supermarkets this Christmas, to entice shoppers into their stores and ramp up consumer spending. With weaker than expected growth in October, the industry is under pressure to get shoppers into the habit of spending more over the next six weeks by showcasing what’s new and different in store. We expect to see some inspiring and distinctive campaigns designed to drive sales as retailers will be focused on pulling consumers in over the festive period.”
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