// UK grocery sales grew 14.3% in the past 3 months – faster than another time in the last 26 years
// Online shopping hit a new peak – accounting for 11.5 per cent of all grocery sales
// People were visiting supermarkets in fewer numbers but average spend per trip increased 50% to £27.41
Supermarket sales soared faster in the past three months than at any point in at least 26 years, as the extent of shoppers stockpiling became clear, according to new data.
With improving weather, more shoppers headed to parks and castles for picnics as sales of chilled dips, crisps and fizzy drinks all jumped in the past four weeks, researchers at Kantar said.
The VE Day bank holiday on May 8 also helped make the preceding Thursday the biggest shopping day of the month, with £488 million spent on groceries.
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Ice cream and alcohol sales were 40 per cent and 50 per cent higher than last year respectively.
Shoppers are tentatively returning to supermarkets, although the lack of hungry workers in offices and school closures is offsetting some of the growth, Kantar added.
Kantar also found that grocery sales jumped 14.3 per cent in the 12 weeks to May 17, including the period of lockdown when restaurants, bars and pubs shut their doors to customers.
Online shopping hit a new peak – accounting for 11.5 per cent of all grocery sales after the UK Government encouraged families to turn to home deliveries.
In more recent weeks, customers have been heading back into stores but sticking with bigger weekly shops – a trend Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis had already revealed he has seen.
“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,” Kantar head of retail insight Fraser McKevitt said.
He added: “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.”
McKevitt also explained that with shoppers visiting supermarkets 3.5 times a week on average, 100 million fewer trips were made – although spends per trip increased 50 per cent to £27.41 on average.
Families with adult children have seen the greatest increase in spending, with an average monthly spend of £618 versus £545 last May.
Online shopping gained more ground, adding more shoppers in 2020 than at any point in the previous five years and takeaway deliveries are up 250 per cent 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,” McKevitt said.
“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.”
with PA Wires