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Retail

Online Grocery Sales Drop 10% In UK, As Shoppers Return To Stores: NielsenIQ

Shoppers made 50 million more visits to UK supermarkets in the four weeks to 14 August, which in turn led to a 10% decline in online grocery sales, new data from NielsenIQ has found.

Despite the drop in online penetration, NielsenIQ said that e-commerce channels remain a popular medium for British shoppers, who spent around £1.1 billion (€1.28 billion) in online grocery during the four week period.

This compares with £1.2 billon (€1.4 billion) in the corresponding period last year. Online penetration currently stands at 12.7%, which is still close to the high of 13.4% that it experienced in May 2020.

Easing Of Restrictions

Visits to physical stores are up 12%, with the shift back to physical stores suggesting 'improving shopper confidence following the growth in vaccination rates, with shoppers more willing to shop more often and at more retailers, as well as the easing of social distancing restrictions in recent weeks, and a boost from summer weather,' according to NielsenIQ.

Total Till grocery sales figures were up 1.1% in the four-week period, partly boosted by a short heatwave at the end of July, while sporting events such as the Olympics also provided a boost.

The confectionery (+9.6%) and soft drinks (+5.5%) categories saw the most growth, while delicatessen (+9.5%) and bakery (+8.1%) also experienced an uplift. Frozen food (-4%) and beers, wines and spirits (-6%) were down compared to the same period last year, but this is largely due to tough comparatives.

Improved Confidence

“Shoppers seem more confident in visiting stores, which has had an impact on online grocery," commented Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight.

"However, the decline in online sales was expected as it is largely due to shoppers no longer needing to make such large shops as lifestyles finally started to normalise. What is important is that despite there being a lack of new online shoppers over the last 12 weeks, existing online shoppers are staying - just spending differently.”

Previously, research firm Kantar also reported that shopping habits are beginning to return to normal in the UK.

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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