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Online grocery sales fall 15% in early months of this year: data

Shoppers have now returned in-store

Online grocery sales were almost 15% lower in the early months of this year than they were at the same time last year – during the third lockdown – new data suggests. Kantar data suggests that half a million fewer households bought online in the three months to mid-April than did a year earlier.

Across all sales channels, supermarket sales fell by 5.9%, according to Kantar grocery figures for the 12 weeks to April 17 2022, compared to a year earlier. Sales were also 0.6% lower than they were in the same period two years ago, which includes the start of the first Covid-19 UK lockdown.

Online’s share of sales was 1.5 percentage points (pp) lower in April.

“While online shopping is definitely here to stay, it’s less of a necessary now,” says Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar’s Worldpanel Division, UK in a blog. “Shopper confidence about heading out and about and getting back to store has gone up and half a million fewer households bought over the internet compared to last year.”

The figures suggest Tesco continues to lead the market, having extended its share by 0.3pp to 27.3% of total grocery sales. Sainsbury’s follows, with 15%, followed by Asda (14.1%), Morrisons (9.5%), Aldi (8.8%), Lidl (6.6%), Co-op (6%), Waitrose (4.8%) and Iceland (2.2%). Online grocery Ocado has 1.8% of the market and its sales were 13.9% higher than two years ago, says Kantar.

Prices have risen, with grocery price inflation at 5.9% in April, and while shoppers are making a similar number of trips to the supermarket as last year, they are spending less each time, with average basket sizes down 4.5% at £22.39.

Sales of sunflower oil (+27%) and vegetable oil (+40%) have grown quickly, with evidence of some shoppers stocking up in the face of the war in Ukraine – a major producer of sunflowers. Some 27.3% of products bought were on promotion. That figure fell by 2.7 percentage points as retailers focus on everyday low prices. Asda for example, has launched its Just Essentials line, and Morrisons and Tesco are also offering lower prices, the latter via its Clubcard strategy.

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