British shoppers are set to spend £6.8bn at UK supermarkets over the next two weeks in the run-up to Christmas Eve.
NielsenIQ data found that the amount expected to be spent will be up from £6.7bn in 2020, as shoppers prepare to celebrate Christmas at home with family and friends.
NielsenIQ data revealed that Total Till grocery sales fell 2.5% in the last four weeks ending 4 December however a rise in grocery spend in the first week of December indicated that spending is set to increase in the next two weeks ahead of Christmas.
The research believes that UK shoppers are seeking to treat themselves to more premium and higher value items this Christmas, with NielsenIQ data showing that the average value of the shopping basket is now 2.6% higher this year. Growth across products include celebration cakes (+15.6% to £15m), pre-mixed alcoholic drinks (+13.7% to £25m), fresh olives (+7.4% to £9m), fresh pizza (+13.1% to £50m) and fresh ready meals (+11.3% to £195m).
Online grocery sales dropped by 13% in the last four weeks ending 4 December 2021 although this is against lockdown comparatives in the same period in 2020.
NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “Whilst our data may show that performance at the big four supermarkets is weaker, we must remember that this is against strong comparatives last year when the nation was in lockdown. For example, retailers with a larger convenience footprint may see higher fluctuations in sales. Equally a 10% fall in beers, wines and spirits (BWS) sales across the industry in the last four weeks will have impacted sales at the larger stores of many of the ‘big four’ supermarkets. Nevertheless, with two weeks to go there is still a lot to play for, with special prices from loyalty cards which are the promotional mechanic most likely to encourage shoppers to spend more this Christmas.”
“This year more than ever, we can expect shoppers to plan activities and meal occasions around family and friends,” he added. “The sales figures in November are partly due to lockdown comparatives but also shoppers delaying big shopping trips until the final week before Christmas when fresh foods and any remaining indulgences are purchased. For 1 in 3 households there is going to be good availability as well as low prices, which are typically the most important factors in deciding where to shop and we anticipate that the 23 December is likely to be the peak day for trading at UK supermarkets.”