UK consumers spent £439 million (€509 million) on confectionary ahead of Easter in the four weeks to March 27, a 34% rise compared with the same period in 2020, industry data has shown.
Ahead of a slight easing of lockdown restrictions in England on March 29, but with non essential retail remaining closed, consumers also turned to supermarkets to treat themselves on clothes as well as home and garden items, market researcher NielsenIQ said.
It said sales of clothing doubled to £313 million, while sales of home, up 61%, and garden items, up 92%, collectively increased to £175 million.
“It’s clear that as we draw ever closer to the end of lockdown, consumers have been looking ahead to spring and indulging in some retail therapy, ranging from Easter chocolate to some new clothing or accessories for the home and garden," commented Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight.
In contrast, sales of packaged grocery fell by 24% and household goods, including cleaning and paper products, fell by -31% compared to last year, which coincides with the stockpile shopping heights of March 2020.
The researcher said overall grocery spending fell 2.9% in the four-week period as it compared with the period before and just after England's first national lockdown last year.
However, British shoppers still spent £1 billion more on groceries in the four weeks than they did in the same period in 2019.
'Rebalancing Of Spend'
“With the economy slowly reopening we will soon see a rebalancing of consumer spend in the months ahead," Watkins added. "As 80% of consumers say they would feel confident returning to restaurants once they've had their vaccine, many billions of pounds are set to return to cafes, pubs and restaurants which could impact on grocery sales.
"But, with the likelihood of a ‘stay at home summer’ supermarkets are still well-positioned to capture incremental spend.”
News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.