The UK’s return to normality has been accompanied by a return to pre-pandemic shopping habits, with online and overall grocery sales declining.
The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar for the period ending 8 August show that grocery sales fell by four per cent.
The latest twelve weeks saw the lowest level of online grocery orders made since October of last year. Only 20 per cent of British households bought groceries online. Kantar said the share of grocery sales made online in the period ending 8 August was 13 per cent, down from a peak of 15.4 per cent in February.
While online grocery shopping experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, a divide has begun to emerge between new online loyalists and the unconverted returning to a more traditional shopping model.
Subsequently, online grocery retailers have experienced a dip in sales. Ocado sales fell by 0.7 per cent in the period, its first decline on record. Though Kantar said the online grocer’s sales were still 44 per cent higher than 2019 for the fastest two-year growth in the industry.
Waitrose was the only grocer to increase sales in the past 12 weeks, with growth of 0.6 percent as it attracted 365,000 more shoppers than it did last year. The retailer expanded its market share by 0.2 percentage points, up to 4.9 percent.
Of Britain’s big four grocers, Tesco was the strongest performer, with sales down 1.8 per cent. Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Asda’s sales fell 2.6 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively.
Shoppers have been steadily returning to old habits, making smaller but more frequent trips to the shops instead of large online orders. In the past four weeks Britons have made an additional 180 000 trips to the shops as relaxed restrictions have enabled people to venture out of their homes.
“With the end of social distancing restrictions people have been happier to head into stores to make more regular, smaller shops. Consumers made an extra 108,000 shopping trips this month, while average basket sizes were 10 per cent smaller”, said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
Cash payments are a thing of the past
Data from Kantar suggests the shift from cash to card payment will only continue to accelerate. 87 percent of all payments in major grocery retailers were made using card during the 12 weeks to late June.
“If there’s one pandemic habit that has stuck it is perhaps that cash-free payment is now king – another trend Amazon has been trying to capitalise on.” said McKevitt.
Amazon are continuing to explore online opportunities. Currently 11 percent of their grocery sales are own labels, well below the 50 percent market average. The company is setting out to increase their own-brand offering going forward.