March sees biggest month of grocery sales on record as shoppers stock up

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show year-on-year supermarket sales grew by the fastest rate in over a decade during the past 12 weeks. The rate of growth in the most recent four weeks was nearly three times higher at 20.6%, giving March 2020 the biggest month of grocery sales ever recorded, as shoppers flocked to supermarkets in their numbers to stockpile essential goods.

Week-on-week sales strengthened at the beginning of the month, and between Monday 16 and Thursday 19 March in anticipation of potential lock down, 88% of households visited a grocer, making five trips on average – adding up to 42 million extra shopping trips across four days.

The average household spent an extra £62.92 during the four weeks period equivalent to adding five days worth of groceries. Shoppers in London, where the outbreak is reported to be a few weeks ahead of other regions, increased their spending the most, up by 26% during the month.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said that while the majority of panic buying was carried out by a ‘relatively low number of individuals’ he anticipates this will subside as shoppers gain confidence in the strength of the supply chain.

He said: “It has been an extraordinary month and social distancing measures have had a profound impact on all our daily lives – from the way we work and socialise, to how we shop and care for our loved ones.

“We expect restrictions on movement and relatively full grocery cupboards will mean the incredibly high levels of shopping trips made in March will drop off over the coming weeks. Regular trips to smaller local stores are likely to continue, as people avoid travelling and queues at stores with one-in-one-out policies in place. Sales of long life and non-perishable items will slow as households work their way through stocks and consumers will focus on replenishing their supply of fresh foods.

 

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