UK supermarkets experience busiest Xmas since 2019

UK supermarkets saw their highest level of transactions across the festive period since December 2019, according to new research.

Figures from data and analytics company Kantar reveal that Brits made 488 million trips to supermarkets over the four weeks to 24 December, 12 million more than last year and the largest number at Christmas since before the pandemic.

A record £13.7 billion passed through the tills, with the average household spending an all-time high of £477 across the month, an increase of £28 on 2022.

Total take-home grocery sales grew in value by seven per cent, while the number of items bought rose by two per cent.

“As we expected, this Christmas was a whopper," said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar. "Friday 22 December turned out to be the most popular shopping day, when just over 25 million trips were made and consumers spent £803 million in physical stores – that’s 85 per cent more than the average Friday in 2023."

He added that online share of the market held steady at 11.6 per cent, as nearly one in five households got a delivery in for Christmas day.

According to Kantar, nearly a third of all spend in the four weeks to Christmas Eve was made on items with some kind of offer, the highest level since December 20202 and £823 million more than 2022.

“The rate of inflation is coming down at the fastest pace we have ever recorded, but consumers are still facing pretty hefty pressures on their budgets," continued McKevitt. "Retailers were clearly working hard during the festive period to offer best value and win over shoppers, and promotions were central to their strategy."

Market share

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose accounted for a combined market share of 70 per cent during the 12 weeks to 24 December.

Sainsbury’s reached its highest market share since December 2020 at 15.8 per cent, pushing up its sales by 9.3 per cent. Tesco gained 0.1 percentage points of share to now hold 27.6 per cent of the market and grew sales by 7.5 per cent.

Kantar said that Lidl and Aldi continue to be the fastest growing grocers year on year, with the discounters hitting their highest ever market shares for the Christmas period.

Lidl increased sales by 13.8 per cent, while Aldi saw growth of 9.9 per cent.

Lidl’s market share rose by 0.5 percentage points to 7.7 per cent and Aldi’s grew 0.2 percentage points, meaning its market share now stands at 9.3 per cent.

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