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‘Return to normality’ impacts sales of BWS in grocery sector

Published:  14 September, 2021

The latest data released by Kantar indicates that UK drinkers are consuming less alcohol at home, with total grocery sales of BWS falling significantly over the past three months.

Year-on-year alcohol sales fell by -8.5% in the 12 weeks to 5 September 2021. In addition, consumers spent 334m less on alcoholic beverages this year than during the same period in 2020.

“We can’t say for certain what is happening in the on-trade, but certainly people are buying less alcohol from retailers than they were this time last year. Given the restrictions on hospitality which were in place last year though, that is likely the case,” said a Kantar spokesperson.

According to Kantar, a move away from large grocery shops is also evident online – average online baskets are now £17 smaller than they were in the first lockdown. Moreover, prices are starting to increase and people are paying more for their shopping as in-store promotions hit record lows.

Kantar’s data shows that total year-on-year grocery sales (including alcohol) fell by 1.9% in the 12 weeks to 5 September 2021. However, sales remain higher than they were before the pandemic, up by 8.7% compared to the same period in 2019.

“There are big lifestyle changes on the horizon with commuters heading back to the office and the return to school this autumn, and we’d expect this to impact how people shop,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

“We are already tracking signs of fatigue when it comes to home cooking. Sales of chilled ready meals, for example, increased by 11% this month as consumers’ lives get busier again. More people returning to towns and cities should also provide a boost for cafés and coffee shops, where spending last September was £187 million lower than in 2019,” he added.