Grocery sales at UK supermarkets during the week ending 14 March increased by over 22% compared with the same period in 2019, according to new data from Nielsen.
This is equal to an additional £467m more in purchases than this time last year, and the “significant” rise in grocery sales is attributed to increasing stockpiling, amid health fears around the worldwide spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19.
In the week ended 14 March 2020, Nielsen data shows that UK consumers have continued to increase their stockpiling of grocery, health and personal care items. The consequential 22% increase in sales across UK supermarkets is a significant rise compared with the 8% increase in the previous week ended 7 March.
Household and pet care items also saw the biggest increase (65%) in sales compared with the same period last year. This was closely followed by ambient groceries – shelf stable food – in which sales increased by 62%, whilst health, beauty, toiletries and babycare items rose by 46%.
There was also a significant increase in sales of frozen food (33%) and for the first time during the Covid-19 outbreak sales have surged for beer, wine and spirits (11%) as well as impulse snacking items (18%).
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, said: “The week ending 14 March was the first week we witnessed retailers come under significant pressure to serve consumers, as supply chains were stretched in order to keep up with the unprecedented demand from shoppers.”
“The announcement on 20 March that retailers are now allowed to collaborate on supply chain planning, as well as share distribution and logistics, is likely to be a welcome development, as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers work together to reduce the impact of stockpiling.”
He added: “Our data shows that stockpiling has intensified as consumers continuously purchase more of the same items, leading to a noticeable rise in ‘out of stocks’.
“During this particular week we also saw sales of frozen food accelerate. Shoppers have stocked up their cupboards and now they’re stocking up their freezers. We anticipate we’ll see a further surge in sales as retailers continue to work hard and put various measures in place to keep the shelves full over the next few weeks.”