Grocery sales fell 0.7% in the four weeks to 9 October, new data from NielsenIQ has found, as shoppers began to 'rebalance' their spending habits, however some shoppers are wary about availability and supply chain disruption in the coming festive period.
UK shoppers spent £11.8 billion (€14 billion) in the four-week period, which is £41 million (€48.6 million) less than the same period last year, although it is 6.6% higher than the corresponding period in 2019.
Spend on promotional items remains low, at 20%, NielsenIQ added, down from 22% for the same period last year, which is being driven by concerns over festive availability – many households are shopping earlier for their seasonal items.
Availability Issues 'Top Of Mind'
“We also cannot ignore that availability issues are still top of mind with shoppers, with news headlines questioning whether shelves will be stocked this Christmas," commented Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight.
"Should some shoppers choose to forward purchase seasonal food and drink, for example purchasing one or two extra items on every visit, this may be enough to help keep growth positive. Large out of town stores could also benefit this year should shoppers decide to buy non food such as toys, gifts and homewares."
British consumers are also shopping via a wider variety of channels, the data showed, with both visits to stores (+5.3%) and online shopping trips (+5.5%) increasing over the last four weeks.
One in four shoppers continue to buy groceries online every four weeks, and are now shopping online more often, the data showed, while also buying more convenience items online, such as fresh pizza (+17%), mineral water (+17%), salads (+11%) and cakes (+10%). The share of online sales currently stands at 12.6%, which is down slightly from 12.9% a year ago.