Retail

Christmas Shopping Comes Early For UK Shoppers In Grip Of Cost Crunch: NielsenIQ

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British shoppers began their Christmas shopping early this year as they navigate a worsening cost-of-living squeeze by budgeting their spending, market research group NielsenIQ said.

In a survey released on Tuesday, which chimes with recent comments from Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Primark, NielsenIQ said 30% of British consumers started shopping for Christmas this year before mid-October, compared to 18% in 2021.

Christmas Mindset

“NielsenIQ is anticipating £34 billion (€39 billion) will be spent at the grocery multiples in the 12 weeks to 31 December, which is a growth of c4% compared to last year when there was weak post pandemic comparatives and no real industry growth," said Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight.

"The difference this year is that, due to inflation, we expect volumes to be down c4% with shoppers buying less and more carefully this Christmas."

These costs show no sign of easing, and with inflation at a 40-year high of 10.1% and consumer confidence close to the gloomiest on record, people are looking to make savings.

Volume Sales At Supermarkets

Nielsen said sales growth at British supermarkets picked up over the last month on a value basis, masking a drop in volumes once inflation is accounted for.

It said growth was 5.3% in the four weeks to November 5 year-on-year, having increased 4.7% in last month's data set.

NielsenIQ said that crisps and snacks and soft drinks were the only two categories to see volume growth in the four week period, with growth of 2.9% and 0.6% respectively. General merchandise volume sales fell 7.6%.

Echoing data last week from market researcher Kantar, Nielsen said Asda was the fastest growing of Britain's traditional big four supermarket groups over the 12 weeks to November 5, with sales growth of 7.6%.

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

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