Online grocery sales fall for first time on record

The number of shoppers buying groceries online fell for the first time ever
Kantar said shoppers spent 3 billion pounds more on groceries than they did during the same period last year.
// Kantar reports online grocery sales fall for the first time ever
// Online orders fell 81,000 in July compared with the same four weeks a year ago

The number of shoppers buying groceries online fell for the first time ever as the peak of home deliveries during the height of the pandemic eased, according to Kantar.

Online orders fell 81,000 in July compared with the same four weeks a year ago and digital baskets shrank 8 per cent to £80 a shop – the lowest level since February last year.

According to figures, supermarkets also failed to fully benefit from the football fever of the Euro 2020 tournament earlier this month, with shoppers choosing to watch games in pubs and bars instead of at home.

As a result of this, take-home sales of alcohol over the four weeks to mid-July fell 3 per cent compared with a month earlier.


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Kantar head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said: “It was a huge month for British football, with major tournaments usually providing a significant boost to supermarkets.

“But with many fans choosing to make the most of newfound freedoms and watch the matches in pubs and bars, take-home sales of alcohol over the four weeks to mid-July were actually down by 3% compared with the previous month.

“That said, shoppers still spent £1.2 billion on the category – a 24 per cent increase on the same period in 2019.

The news comes as supermarket sales continue to decline compared to a year ago, when the first lockdown was at its peak and panic buying had set in.

Kantar stated that shoppers spent three billion pounds more on groceries than they did during the same period in 2019.

Of all the high street supermarkets, which faced tough comparisons with a year ago, only Waitrose saw sales rise compared with a year ago – up 0.1 per cent.

The worst performer was Co-op with a fall of 14.6 per cent, followed by Iceland, down 11.6 per cent.

Kantar also revealed that the majority of shoppers felt safe on their latest trip to a retailer, despite rising Covid-19 infection levels.

McKevitt said: “The proportion of people who feel safe when visiting stores has not varied significantly over the past six months, despite the majority of the country now being at least partially vaccinated.

“Just over half of the population feel happy and secure in store but that of course means a significant minority still experience some degree of anxiety while out and about.”

Of the big four supermarkets Tesco’s market share moved up from 26.7 per cent to 27.1 per cent while Sainsbury’s rose from 14.9 per cent to 15.2 per cent while Asda’s share slipped by 0.1 per cent to 14.0% and Morrisons’ fell from 10.3 per cent last year to 10.1 per cent this period.

All four saw sales drop compared with a year earlier.

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