Record number of Brits purchase groceries online in October

A record 5.9 million people in the UK purchased groceries online in October, according to the latest figures released by Kantar.

The analysis also found that eCommerce grocery sales reached the highest ever level in Wales the week after the country’s new Covid-19 lockdown came into effect last month, making up 16.2% of the market. This finding suggests online food shopping could surge in England during November, as a result of the four-week national lockdown which came into force last week.

Kantar additionally revealed that overall take-home grocery sales rose by 9.3% in the 12 weeks to 1 November 2020, although no significant spike was observed in the final four weeks of the period, despite the introduction of new lockdown restrictions during October.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, commented: “While there was some uplift in Wales, the increased spending did not provide any evidence of stockpiling, and initial figures suggest no sign of panic buying in England either. But one thing is always front of mind at this time of year – Christmas – and it seems many people sought to get ahead with gift buying before stores closed.  Between Monday-Wednesday last week, the three days before additional nationwide restrictions were introduced in England, toy and entertainment stores took more than double their share of pre-Covid footfall, and shoppers rushed to gift shops and fashion retailers.”

In Nielsen’s analysis of supermarket sales published today, it recorded an 87% surge in online sales in the four weeks ending 31 October. This is as a result of customers continuing to limit their in-store visits, which were down 12% year-on-year.

The market research firm also found that overall UK supermarket sales rose by 6.9% in the four weeks, with an increase of 7.2% recorded in the final week as consumers prepared for the new four-week lockdown.