Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Record breaking November for grocery market expected to lead to rosy Christmas

Published:  08 December, 2020

November was officially the largest month ever for the UK grocery market – a trend that analysts are predicting to carry on into December for a bumper shopping month.

Despite much of the high street being shuttered for the majority of November, the latest figures from Kantar show a record-breaking month for the grocery retail market, with sales reaching £10.9 billion across in store and online.

Yesterday, Harpers reported that footfall has failed to live up to pre-pandemic levels when the UK’s second national lockdown came to an end on December 2.

However, the Kantar figures confirm that transaction sizes in the grocery market have continued their upward trajectory as consumers show an improved willingness to return to stores compared with the first lockdown, while also looking to make the most of the festive shopping experience.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “November as a whole saw shopper frequency hit its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, suggesting more confidence among people going into stores. Those factors contributed to November being the single largest month ever for the supermarkets, with £10.9 billion spent over four weeks. December’s numbers are likely to surpass that again, and we expect spend to be close to £12 billion in the month ahead, around £1.5 billion more than last year.”  

The sales uplift reflects a continued turn to online platforms, Kantar said. More than six million households shopped at one of the major supermarkets online this month, the highest number ever. Online-only supermarket Ocado demonstrated the trend, growing by 38.3% in the 12 weeks to 29 November.  This is the first period that fully covers the Ocado and M&S partnership, with M&S products now available on the platform.

However, digital platforms still only account for 13.7% of all sales, meaning that shoppers were still heading in large numbers to bricks and mortar stores.

In the wake of such uplift, Kantar is now predicting another record-breaking month in December for the grocery market. This includes alcohol, which was 33% higher in November compared to the same period last year. Two-fifths of this growth comes from spirits, with sales of festive cream liqueurs more than doubling against 2019.

McKevitt continued: “Many people have begun the countdown to Christmas 2020 already, using more time at home to go big on festive revelry…Shoppers spent 238% more on Christmas lights in the month to 15 November, suggesting that people are eager to capture the Christmas spirit at home. However, mince pie sales are down by 8%, reflecting fewer opportunities to share a treat with friends and colleagues.”

The numbers round of a year which has been incredibly profitable for the UK’s major multiples.

With limited opportunities to dine out in pubs and restaurants, the average British household spend on groceries has skyrocket to a record £4,206 this year.