// Grocery sales rose 5.7% to £31.6bn as shopper confidence was boosted by wider reopening of retail
// Latest figures from Kantar show that take-home grocery sales growth accelerated to 6.5%
// Online sales growth has halved since the height of the pandemic to 46% as consumers are keen to venture out again
Shoppers are making more trips to supermarkets and buying less online as lockdown lifts and the vaccine rollout boosts confidence, according to new figures.
The latest figures from Kantar show that grocery sales rose by 5.7 per cent to £31.6 billion in the 12 weeks to April 18 as shopper confidence was boosted by the wider reopening of retail and lifting of lockdown restrictions.
However, this marked a further slowdown in the rate of growth seen a year earlier when shoppers panic-bought at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, the latest figures show that take-home grocery sales growth accelerated to 6.5 per cent in the four weeks to April 18, and the number of trips to grocery stores rose by four per cent month-on-month in that same four week period.
On the flipside, online grocery sales growth has halved since the height of the pandemic, down to 46 per cent.
Kantar said older shoppers accounted for nearly half of the rise in footfall to grocery stores, with much of the over-65 community now vaccinated.
The figures also come as wider retail reopened on April 12, with lockdown restrictions lifting for non-essential retail across England and Wales.
In terms of market share, on a month-on-month basis all Big 4 supermarkets experienced a decline in April, except for Sainsbury’s which held steady at 15.3 per cent.
Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose increased their respective market shares, the Co-op and Iceland held steady, while Ocado lost one percentage point of market share.
On a year-on-year basis, the Big 4 grocers have all increased their market share, except for Sainsbury’s which held firm again.
Aldi, Iceland and Ocado also increased their market share when compared to the same period last year, Lidl and Waitrose held firm, while the Co-op’s market share declined five percentage points – the biggest drop of all supermarkets Kantar surveyed.
“There is a growing sense that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and people are becoming more comfortable with venturing out to the supermarket,” Kantar head of retail insight Fraser McKevitt said.
“The past four weeks have been the busiest in store for the grocers in more than a year as the number of trips made in April increased by four per cent compared to March.
“With much of the over-65 community now vaccinated, older shoppers accounted for nearly half of the increased footfall.”
He added: “While the market may fluctuate between growth and decline in the months ahead, depending on the year-on-year comparison being made, the fact that trip numbers are up and basket sizes down suggests that habits are slowly returning to normal.”
with PA Wires