The latest grocery market share data released today has indicated an acceleration of growth across the board.
Figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending August 14 show the market growing at 0.3 per cent as pleasant summer weather spurred consumers into increasing their spend.
According to Kantar, this is fastest acceleration for the overall market since March 2016.
Meanwhile, Nielsen’s data for the 12 weeks to August 13 indicated that both the hot weather and Britain’s success at the Rio 2016 Olympics combined to generate the best year-on-year supermarket sales figures in almost three years.
The overall value of sales in the grocery sector was up by 0.9 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, which according to Nielsen is the best figure (excluding Easter and Christmas-inflated periods) since the 1.7 per cent growth in the four weeks ending November 9, 2013.
On the other hand, sales volumes increased one per cent – the best performance since the 1.5 per cent growth in the period ending March 28, 2015.
While the Big 4, led by Tesco, continues to have a stronghold on the grocery sector in the UK, German supermarket retailers Aldi and Lidl continue to challenge them with rapid market share growth.
Aldi’s sales grew by 10.4 per cent compared to the same 12-week period last year in Kantar’s data, while according to Nielsen it grew 15.9 per cent.
As for Lidl, Kantar indicates that its sales grew 12.2 per cent compared to the same 12-week period last year while Nielsen said it experienced a 9.9 per cent growth.
“Both discounters benefitted from rising premium own label sales and forward planning by having their back to school ranges in store just as schools were breaking up,” Kantar’s head of retail insight Fraser McKevitt said.
Kantar Worldpanel's latest grocery market share figures:
The category with the strongest growth according to Nielsen was soft drinks, which had an uptick of 9.3 per cent year-on-year, bolstered by an 18.5 per cent growth in mineral water sales.
“The stellar Team GB performances at the Olympics combined with the hot weather, particularly in mid-July, helped supermarkets to their own personal best for some time,” Nielsen’s UK head of retail insight Mike Watkins said.
“Brexit seems to have been replaced by an Olympic ‘feel-good’ factor among shoppers and there were more visits to buy food and drink in the last four weeks than this time last year, with most retailers benefitting from an increase in shopper penetration.”
Nielsen's latest grocery market share figures:
Meanwhile, Kantar’s figures show frozen confectionery was the strongest category, with sales up by 23 per cent in the last month.
At Iceland in particular, ice cream was the fastest growing category, with an overall 4.3 per cent sales increase compared to the same period last year.
“The sun’s eventual appearance was a welcome boost to the market after a delayed start to the summer,” McKevitt said.
“Price cuts such as the ‘7 Day Deals’ and summer loyalty promotions helped bring an additional 129,000 shoppers through Iceland’s doors.”
Both Nielsen and Kantar’s figures indicated that promotional sales dropped even further as the supermarket chains continued to move towards more simple pricing models.
“Only 37.7 per cent of grocery sales were bought on any kind of promotion this period – a significant decrease from highs of over 40 per cent we were seeing in 2015,” McKevitt said.
“Fewer promotions doesn’t mean consumers are paying more for their shopping but does reflect the renewed focus on own-label lines which is visible across the market.
“Shoppers are clearly responding to the better value offered through own label rather than money off, with own brand goods growing at both ends of the price spectrum: premium retailer brands are up by nine per cent and value lines up by two per cent.”
McKevitt added that there was no evidence of Brexit-fuelled inflation causing food prices to rise.
“In fact, grocery price inflation remains negative, with a representative basket of goods 1.3 per cent cheaper than it was last year,” he said.