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UK Christmas Grocery Market To Grow 2.6% Despite Cost Concerns

Published on Dec 7 2017 11:00 AM in Retail tagged: Trending Posts / UK / UK Retail / IGD / Christmas

UK Christmas Grocery Market To Grow 2.6% Despite Cost Concerns

The UK grocery market is set to grow by 2.6% this Christmas, with shoppers forecast to spend £22.2 billion over the festive period, according to forecasts by the global food and grocery research group IGD.

While the cost of Christmas is a growing concern for shoppers, a majority of people still see the holiday season as a time to treat themselves and spend a little more on groceries, according to the IGD data.

Two-thirds of shoppers (66%) agreed that Christmas is a time to splash out on food and groceries, up from 54% last year, despite almost one in three (32%) saying that they’re concerned about the cost of Christmas – a growing concern compared to 2016.

“Despite some concerns about costs, shoppers still see this time of year as the main chance to treat themselves and their families,” said Vanessa Henry, shopper insight manager at IGD.

“We’re also seeing shoppers trying to get ahead of the season’s spending by starting their purchases earlier in the year to spread the cost,” Henry added.

Around 45% of shoppers are planning to start Christmas shopping early to spread the cost, compared to 35% in 2016.


One in three (32%) shoppers also said they have a budget set aside to spend on food and groceries this year. This suggests that for the majority of people opportunities will drive impulse purchases.

Notably, 60% of shoppers said they try to plan their food and grocery shopping at Christmas, but always end up buying a number of unplanned products (up from 53% in 2016), according to IGD.

“Retailers will need to work harder to strengthen their in-store offer to stand out,” said Henry. “Our data shows lots of opportunities for this kind of engagement, particularly with shoppers being more likely to impulse purchase and try new products at this time of year.”

Shopping Around

Some 82% of shoppers said they are willing to spend more on particular products for better quality, while over half (55%) said they always look out for new and exciting products over the holidays.

Shoppers are more likely to shop around for the best prices than trade down, with just under half (48%) planning to shop at a number of stores this Christmas, and 43% saying they will spread the majority of their food and grocery shopping across several different trips to a range of stores.

“Our research shows us that shoppers are being savvier with their spending to ensure they don’t have to sacrifice on quality, with more shopping around at several stores to seek out the best deal as opposed to buying cheaper products,” said Henry.

Only one in five (21%) said they will do one big Christmas shop, visiting one store to get the bulk of their shopping in one trip, according to IGD.

Fragile Market

Today’s IGD prognostics offer retailers a relief in light of previous forecasts and the UK consumer remaining generally fragile and volatile.

Shore Capital Stockbrokers recently forecasted that this year’s festive season will be polarised in terms of performance, with grocers and discounters likely to post a stronger performance than those in non-food channels.

In November, UK consumer confidence slid to a four-month low, delivering a further setback for retailers ahead of the crucial Christmas shopping period, according to the market researcher GfK.

The country’s retail sales for October barely rose as food stores saw continued decline and clothing dropped the most that month for all of 2017. Faster inflation and sluggish wage growth have squeezed UK households this year with a clear fallout on spending and economic growth

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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