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UK Insights

Supermarkets sweep up 17 months of consecutive growth

Fraser McKevitt

Head of Retail and Consumer Insight

Shoppers 17.10.2017 / 08:00


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Supermarket sales have increased in value by 3.1% compared with last year according to the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

The figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today, cover the 12 weeks to 8 October 2017. This marks the 17th period of growth in a row for Britain’s grocers. Like-for-like grocery inflation remains at 3.2% but consumers could be welcoming a slowdown in price rises in the new year, with the rate projected to fall below 2% in the first quarter of 2018.

Recent stories about the poultry supply chain have not materially dented chicken sales; fresh poultry sales have remained flat in the month of September, while chilled processed poultry has increased in value by 6%.

Meanwhile, Christmas has already started in the supermarket aisles. £69 million of chocolate confectionary boxes were sold in the last four weeks – a near threefold increase on sales in August; mince pies reached sales of £4 million and the British public spent £1.1 million on Christmas puddings.

christmas-pudding

Key Numbers

  • £1.1 million already spent on Christmas puddings

It’s a mixed picture for the major retailers – each of the big four has grown sales but seen a decrease in market share as smaller operators continue to entice new customers through their doors.

Morrisons was the fastest growing of the large supermarkets this period, increasing sales by 2.8%. The biggest wins came from ambient and fresh food products with cakes and pastries and fruit both up by 10%. Growing sales at Morrisons’ bricks and mortar stores were supplemented by rapid expansion on its ecommerce platform, particularly in London and the south where online sales have risen 29%. Despite the growth, however, the retailer’s overall market share fell by 0.1 percentage points to 10.3%.

Closely following Morrisons, the remaining big four have each continued to increase sales every month since April. At Tesco, sales grew by 2.1% though share was down 0.3 percentage points to 27.9%. Asda meanwhile has sustained its recent recovery, with sales up 1.8% in the past 12 weeks. Despite traditionally selling a higher proportion of brands than its major rivals, it is own-label sales which are driving the growth at Asda. They now account for 45% of sales, with Asda’s value-focused Farm Stores line and premium Extra Special range leading the charge.

Sales at Sainsbury’s increased 1.9% on last year while market share now stands at 15.8%, down 0.2 percentage points. Only 35% of Sainsbury’s sales are now through price-cut deals, down sharply from nearly 40% a year ago as part of the retailer’s ongoing programme of scaling back the overall level of promotions.

Aldi and Lidl collectively added an additional £390 million in sales this quarter, which accounts for half of the entire market’s overall growth this period. Lidl remains Britain’s fastest growing supermarket, up by 16.0%, while Aldi grew by 13.4%. Share increased for both retailers by 0.6 percentage points, up to 5.2% of the market for Lidl and 6.8% for Aldi.

Waitrose sales increased by 2.3% though in contrast share fell by 0.1% to 5.3%. Despite the fall Waitrose has again pulled ahead of Lidl in terms of market share – the premium retailer is traditionally stronger in the latter stages of the year as consumers start trading up for the Christmas period.

At Co-op, sales fell back by 2.5% and market share fell to 6.2%, a drop of 0.3 percentage points. Iceland’s sales grew by 2.6% - notably, it is the only bricks and mortar retailer other than Aldi and Lidl not to lose market share this period.

Online sales growth has slowed to 6.7% from a recent high of 21.9% in October 2014. Ocado’s sales increase of 8.7% means it continues to win share of the online market. With only 18% of the population buying groceries online in the latest 12 weeks, online specialists and the traditional supermarkets will both be looking to capitalise on the potential for long-term growth through internet sales.

Source : Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's Notes

Grocery inflation now stands at +3.2%* for the 12 week period ending 8 October 2017. Prices have been rising since the 12 weeks to 1 January 2017, following a period of grocery price deflation which ran for 30 consecutive periods from September 2014 to December 2016. Prices are rising fastest in markets such as butter, fish and cola with all major categories now registering inflation.

*This figure is based on over 75,000 identical products compared year-on-year in the proportions purchased by shoppers and therefore represents the most authoritative figure currently available. It is a ‘pure’ inflation measure in that shopping behaviour is held constant between the two comparison periods – shoppers are likely to achieve a lower personal inflation rate if they trade down or seek out more offers.

Please note: From the 12 w/e 23 April 2017, data on Ocado will be detailed in Kantar Worldpanel’s monthly grocery market share. Ocado figures were previously included in ‘other multiples’, so data for all other individual retailers is not affected. 

Please note that four week ending or six week ending retailer share data should not be used in media reporting. The 12 week ending data stated in this release covers a longer time period which means it is a superior indicator of retailer performances and trends.

 

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