Grocery sales reached £11.7 billion in December
Shoppers spent £11.7 billion on groceries in the month of December as they made the most of Christmas festivities.
Figures from Kantar also reveal that this was only down 0.2% on record 2020 sales when several areas across the UK faced Covid-19 restrictions.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “People seized the chance to enjoy Christmas with friends and family after last year’s muted festivities, and grocery sales hit £11.7 billion over the month of December alone. We can really see just how much spending accelerated in December compared with earlier in the year by looking at the average trend during March to November when sales were down by 2.5% against 2020.”
Grocery sales reached £31.7 billion over the 12 weeks to 26 December, which was down 3% on the corresponding period in 2020. However, spending was higher than it was pre-pandemic with sales 8% stronger than in 2019.
While spending on many traditional Christmas dinner items was broadly similar to last year, Kantar found that people were also buying more chocolates and sweet treats with sales of the items surging by 21% and 7% respectively in December.
Premium own-label sales broke records this Christmas as shoppers spent £627 million on supermarkets’ own upmarket lines over the four week period.
McKevitt added: “The appetite to celebrate and splash out that little bit more this year pushed sales of luxury own-brand products up across the board. Sparkling and still wine sales grew 22% and 18% respectively, while crisps surged by 31%. Tesco’s Finest and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference are easily the largest premium own-label ranges, but we saw the fastest growth from other ranges such as Asda Extra Special and Iceland Luxury.”
Despite rising Covid-19 case numbers and the emergence of the Omicron variant, online sales fell by 3.7% in December against 2020 and accounted for 12.2% of sales.
Individual retailers found it difficult to achieve year-on-year growth over the Christmas period following last year’s highs, but Kantar found that every major grocer increased sales compared with the final 12 weeks of 2019.
According to the figures, Ocado was the only retailer to grow its sales year-on-year in the 12 week period with an uplift of 2.5%. However, Tesco increased its market share by 0.6% to 27.9% in the period, which was its highest level since January 2018. Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose also grew their shares with respective uplifts 0.3%, 0.2% and 0.1%.
Meanwhile Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons now hold 15.7%, 14.2% and 10.1% share of the market respectively.
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