Online grocery and supermarket sales remain strong in August

UK online grocery sales grew 77% year-on-year in the four weeks to 6 September 2020, bringing the cumulative increase in orders to £3.2 billion since the start of lockdown, new figures from Kantar have found.

While remaining strong, online has dropped slightly compared with earlier months, representing a total of 12.5% of all grocery sales in this period, which compares with 13.5% recorded in the four weeks to 9 August.

Kantar believes this is primarily due to the UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, resulting in less purchases from supermarkets and grocers and the end of shielding for many vulnerable people.

While overall grocery sales increased by 10.8% in the 12 weeks to 6 September, this decelerated to 8% in the final four weeks, which is the slowest rate since April. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, explained: “Grocery growth tailed off in August as the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme got underway and people were encouraged to return to offices and resume normal routines.”

In new data published by Nielsen today, online supermarket sales remained very strong in the four weeks ending 5 September 2020, indicating that “new and permanent changes appear to be emerging in shopper behaviour”.

It found that in this period, online fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales were up by 102%. And in the 12 weeks ending 5 September, there was a 10% rise in online shopping ‘trips’ to supermarkets compared to the 12 weeks leading to early June 2020, before the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “The growth of online shopping continues to put pressure on stores, with grocery spend at bricks and mortar stores falling again, by almost 2%. Whilst there are still shoppers trying online for the first time, the growth of online is now being driven by bigger spends and more transactions. This continued growth in online over the last 12 weeks reflects increased capacity as supermarkets respond to shopper demand and continue to improve efficiencies in the delivery network.”