Grocery sales in the UK grew 18.9 per cent in the four weeks up to 14 June, new data has shown, as online shopping and convenience stores continued to attract shoppers through the coronavirus lockdown period.
According to data firm Kantar, online sales were the main driver of the rise, increasing 91 per cent over the last month.
The huge increase in available delivery slots across the sector meant nearly one in five British households bought over the internet in the month to mid June, totalling 5.7m shoppers.
As a result of the surge in online shopping, online delivery specialists Ocado has now hit its record market share of 1.7 per cent, driven by 42.2 per cent rise in sales across the last three months.
In total across the last 12 weeks – the whole lockdown period – supermarket sales have risen 13.7 per cent, with the lockdown restrictions fundamentally altering retail habits.
However, Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said that the gradual relaxing of the lockdown measures was seeing a slow move back to pre-coronavirus habits.
“We’re still shopping less frequently but shoppers are gradually changing their behaviour”, he said.
“Households made 77m fewer trips to the grocers in the latest four weeks compared with last year, but that’s still 19m more than in May, reflecting the slight easing of government restrictions”.
With the ongoing closures of pubs and restaurants, alcohol sales have continued to rise over the past month, increasing 43 per cent.
And the recent hot weather has also triggered a spike in sales of picnic favourites like chilled dips and soft drinks, which have risen 30 and 28 per cent respectively.
Of the UK’s supermarkets, Tesco continued to lead the market, with a sales growth of 12.1 per cent taking it to a market share of 26.9 per cent.
All of the other big grocers increased their sales over the last 12 weeks, with the Co-Op showing a 34.5 per cent rise, giving it its biggest market share – 7.4 per cent – since 2001.
Despite the overall increase, McKevitt said that grocers were still navigating a shortfall in food and drink bought on the go.
Although the figure is not covered in Kantar’s take-home data, such sales were worth £347m to grocers last June and so represent a significant chunk of sales.