British shoppers are set to spend £6.8 billion (€7.96 billion) in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, an increase on the £6.7 billion they spent in 2020, according to new data from NielsenIQ.
According to the research firm, Total Till grocery sales fell 2.5% in the most recent four-week period (ending 4 December).
However, sales were just 0.9% down in the first week of December, indicating that spend it set to accelerate as Christmas approaches.
Increased Spend On Premium Items
UK shoppers appear to also be more eager to spend on higher value, premium items this Christmas, with the average value of the shopping basket coming in 2.6% higher.
With entertaining at home proving popular, a number of categories are on the rise – including celebration cakes (+15.6%), premixed alcoholic drinks (+13.7%), fresh olives (+7.4%), fresh pizza (+13.1%) and fresh ready meals (+11.3%).
Online Grocery Sales
Online grocery sales fell 13% in the four weeks to 4 December, compared to the same period last year, however this is largely due to lockdown comparatives in the prior period, NieelsenIQ said.
Online's share of the UK supermarket sector remains unchanged at 12.4%, with in-store sales up 0.2%, indicating that shoppers are continuing to 'rebalance' their spending.
According to NielsenIQ, the fastest-growing food retailer in the most recent 12-week period is Marks & Spencer, which is up 9.1% on the same period last year, while Lidl (+8.3%) and Aldi (+4.6%) are also up.
“This year more than ever, we can expect shoppers to plan activities and meal occasions around family and friends," said Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight
"The sales figures in November are partly due to lockdown comparatives but also shoppers delaying big shopping trips until the final week before Christmas when fresh foods and any remaining indulgences are purchased."
Earlier this year, NielsenIQ reported that UK shoppers are beginning to return to a 'little and often' approach to shopping.