// Grocers enjoy 12.2% sales growth in the 12 weeks to January 24, according to Kantar
// In January shoppers spent £1bn more on supermarket food & drinks compared with a year ago
// Iceland had strongest growth of all grocers with physical stores, up 21.8%, while Ocado was the strongest overall, up 36.6%
Grocers enjoyed a surge in sales as the tiering systems and current national lockdowns helped boost sales by 12.2 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 24, new data has shown.
According to Kantar’s monthly grocery market share data, the sales growth was an acceleration on the Christmas period, as the reintroduction of national lockdown restrictions and the closure of cafes, restaurants and pubs saw eating out curtailed once more.
Kantar added that in January shoppers spent £1 billion more on supermarket food and drinks compared with the same month a year ago.
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“As well as the usual healthy new year’s resolutions, shoppers also looked to treat themselves in January as a way of coping with another month of restrictions,” Kantar head of retail insight Fraser McKevitt said.
He pointed out that vegan ranges were particularly popular, with 6.6 million households buying vegan-specific products – up 10 per cent on a year ago.
He added that during January, there was a 23 per cent boost in vegan products, with families adopting Veganuary.
Another new year movement – Dry January – also saw low and no-alcohol beer grow 12 per cent, although this was far outweighed by alcohol sales, which grew 29 per cent during the 12-week period to £234 million.
“This period also captured a unique New Year’s Eve – with many people celebrating the night at home instead of going out or hosting family and friends,” McKevitt said.
“Delivery companies such as Just Eat and Deliveroo felt the benefit as more people than usual tucked into a takeaway, and such services accounted for six per cent of all online shopping trips on December 31.”
Iceland enjoyed the strongest growth of all the supermarkets with physical stores – with sales rising 21.8 per cent in the 12-week period compared with a year earlier.
It was followed by Morrisons up 14.3 per cent, Tesco up 12.2 per cent, Lidl up 12.1 per cent and Sainsbury’s up 12 per cent.
Online-only supermarket Ocado was the strongest overall with sales up 36.6 per cent compared with a year ago.
The slowest growth came from Aldi, which managed a sales boost of just 5.7 per cent, followed by Asda at 9.9 per cent, Waitrose at 11.3 per cent and Co-op up 11.4 per cent.
In terms of market share, compared to the same period last year Tesco held firm at 27.3 per cent, while Morrisons increased its market share marginally by one percentage point to 10.4 per cent.
Big 4 rivals Asda and Sainsbury’s, along with Aldi, all lost market share, and Co-op, Lidl and Waitrose were unchanged.
Ocado enjoyed the biggest market share growth, jumping from 1.4 per cent last year to 1.7 per cent this year.
Despite the strong growth and boost in sales from remaining an “essential” retailer, as restaurants, pubs and cafes remain closed, Iceland and Waitrose decided to keep its business rates holiday payments.
Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury’s all agreed to repay their rates bills during the period.
Meanwhile, one year on since the first Covid-19 cases were detected Kantar said it has seen clear shopping patterns splitting down generational lines.
In the four weeks to January 24, people under 28, who are typically more open to visiting physical shops, increased spending in larger physical stores by 12 per cent.
However, over-45s cut back spend in bigger supermarkets by one per cent, turning to online shopping instead.
Online shopping hit a record market share of 14 per cent in January, led by the oldest demographics.
“Retired households have boosted their online spend by a staggering 229% compared with January 2020,” McKevitt said.
“Older people are clearly getting more comfortable and proficient at ordering online and they now make up 28 per cent of the 6.4 million who used online services in Great Britain this month.”
Kantar’s data also shows parents are spending an extra £50 a month on groceries in the month of January than they did last year, to provide lunches for children unable to go to schools closed during the current English national lockdown.
Products including pasta were up 22 per cent, chocolate spread up 42 per cent and peanut butter up 39 per cent.
The high growth is expected to slow as the vaccine rollout takes hold and the hospitality sector eventually reopens, whilst the end of the Brexit transition period has not seen any significant price rises currently.
with PA Wires