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British Shoppers Wary Of Discretionary Christmas Grocery Spend, Says NielsenIQ

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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British Shoppers Wary Of Discretionary Christmas Grocery Spend, Says NielsenIQ

British shoppers focused on core grocery essentials in November and avoided more discretionary Christmas items, market researcher NielsenIQ has said.

It said total sales on a value basis grew 7.6% in the four weeks to December 3 year-on-year, masking a drop in volumes when accounting for inflation.

'Spending More To Buy Less'

"With double digit food inflation, shoppers will be spending more to buy less this Christmas," Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight said.

He said consumers were wasting less food, shopping for fewer items but visiting stores more often and taking advantage of savings being offered by retailers' loyalty schemes.

Shoppers can save a third of the increased price for a typical shopping basket by buying private labels, lower priced items or different pack sizes, Watkins added.

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Value And Volume Sales

The researcher highlighted a value growth lift for categories such as dairy, up 13.9%, frozen food, up 11.9% and soft drinks, up 10%.

It also noted 12.7% value and 3.6% volume rises in crisps and snacks sales, which soccer World Cup celebrations likely helped.

However, sales of beers, wines and spirits declined 1.5% and 3.6% on a value and volume basis, reflecting comparison with the beginning of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 last year which boosted the drink in the home market.

Market Share Performance

Echoing data from rival market researcher Kantar last week, NielsenIQ said discounters Aldi UK and Lidl GB were the best performers with sales growth of 12.4% and 12.9% respectively over the 12 weeks to Dec. 3.

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Market leader Tesco's sales were up 6.5%, with Sainsbury's up 6.6% and Asda up 7.7%. However, Morrisons' sales fell 3.3%.

NielsenIQ said online's share of the grocery market remained at 11.3%, down from 12.3% this time last year.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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