While UK shoppers are spending more in store in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, only a minority are purchasing mass quantities of selected products, according to Kantar.
The research firm analysed the shopping habits of more than 100,000 UK consumers, and found that use 6% are purchasing extraordinary quantities of liquid soaps, while just 3% are overpurchasing pasta products.
Rather, the majority of shoppers are adding a few extra products every time they visit a store, with the average spend per supermarket trip rising by 16% in the week to 17 March, to £22.13 (€23.78).
This has led to toilet tissue sales rising 60% year-on-year in the week ending 8 March, while dry pasta sales were up 55% and baked beans sales rose by 48%.
“Most of us have seen images circulating online of people bulk buying products like toilet rolls and pasta, but our data gives us a different, if counterintuitive, diagnosis of what’s happening," commented Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
“Ultimately, we need to look at the empirical evidence and it tells us that temporary shortages are being caused by people adding just a few extra items and shopping more often – behaviour that consumers wouldn’t necessarily think of as stockpiling."
McKevitt noted that social distancing and increased working from home means that people will be eating in more, meaning that a large part of the £4 billion (€4.34 billion) shoppers spend each month on out of home dining will be reallocated.
An additional 15 million supermarket visits were made in the week ending 17 March, compared to the week ending 17 February, Kantar said.
Elsewhere, health and beauty stores (+25%), bargain retailers (+29%) and convenience stores (+19%) all saw a rise in sales on a month-on-month basis.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.