Staying alive – online

Staying alive - online

This week we learned that new and permanent changes emerging in shopper behaviour is indicating that supermarket sales growth eased to 5.3% year-on-year growth over the four weeks ending 5 September.

According to Nielsen, UK supermarkets sales continue in a strong vein, particularly online sales in the last four weeks. Nielsen’s data shows that online FMCG sales were up by 102%. It also shows that in the last 12 weeks ending 5 September, supermarkets experienced 10% more online shopping ‘trips’ than in the 12 weeks leading to early June 2020, when lockdown was lifted.

Such figures show online shopping is remaining front and centre in people’s minds, seeing them shopping more often. You would expect a drop-off elsewhere and that is in bricks & mortar sales, which fell by 1.6%.

Sectors that have seen growth appear to be those where consumers appeared to be in the mood to celebrate – hardly surprising give the times – beers, wines and spirits (+15%) and frozen food (+11%) continued to be the strongest categories.

During the summer, champagne sales grew by 24% and sparkling wines rose by 17%. The warm weather also led to a short period of alfresco dining, helping drive more sales for fresh meat, fish and poultry (+7%) and unsurprisingly ice cream (+18%).

With working at home still primarily in action, sales for delicatessen and bakery products remained in decline (-4%) while spending on packaged, shelf-stable grocery products also began to slow to +7%, down from +18% in early July.

Online is certainly where we at currently, whether that’s with shoppers trying online for the first time or those now accustomed to its convenience; the growth of online is now being driven by bigger spends and more transactions.

The supermarkets have responded with increased capacity and will expect producers to meet shopper demand.

The situation will change again. As Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight,Watkins points out: “Food retail sales are still being boosted by households working from home, and such disruptions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future…However, we anticipate that the supermarket industry will remain more resilient than other types of consumer spending.”

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