The warm weather and early June heatwave has caused a surge in store visits as well as in sales for ice cream and soft drinks, as Brits embrace the beginning of summer, shows data released today (27).
According to NIQ, weekly grocery sales rose to £2.9 billion in the week ending 17 June, the second highest so far this year after Easter. In the last four weeks there were 34 million extra visits to stores compared to last year, 30 per cent more than the additional visits recorded in early May.
“These visits would have included smaller baskets, drinks, snacks and refreshments, as shoppers were out and about enjoying the sun,” said Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “It’s no surprise that online grocery sales have taken a bit of a hit as there was less of a need to order in a big grocery shop.”
As a result, shoppers indulged in seasonal items and impulse purchases, with sales for ice-cream up by +47 per cent, sports & energy drinks (+31 per cent), sun care products (+74 per cent) and hayfever remedies (+25 per cent). Additionally, the warm weather caused a boost in sales for seasonal drink items like flavoured non carbs (+23 per cent), mineral water, (+25 per cent), cider (+22 per cent). Meanwhile, Total Till grocery sales remain steady at 12.4 per cent, a slight increase on the 12.3 per cent rise recorded in May.
NIQ data also shows that online’s share of grocery market slowed further in June. The online’s share of total UK fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales dipped to 10.4 per cent over the four weeks to June 17, from 10.9 per cent in May’s data set. It was about 7 per cent before COVID-19 and it peaked at about 15 per cent during the pandemic but has since come off as shoppers have increasingly returned to stores.
Echoing data from rival market researcher Kantar last week, NIQ said German owned discounters Aldi and Lidl remained the fastest growing grocers with sales growth of 22.2 per cent and 18.7 per cent respectively over the 12 weeks to June 17.
“It’s no surprise that online grocery sales have taken a bit of a hit as there was less of a need to order in a big grocery shop. We expect to see supermarket volumes continue to improve slowly, as food inflation peaks. However, what shoppers buy and where they shop will continue to be strongly influenced by the continued squeeze on disposable incomes,” Watkins added.
“This means that spending over the next few months is still going to be focused on essential needs but as we continue to enjoy the sunshine this summer, there’ll be an increase in impulse spending on cold drinks and treats which is an upside for supermarkets in general.”