Supermarkets saw sales surge as the tiering systems and new national barriers contributed to a 12.2% increase in sales in the twelve weeks ending Jan. 24, according to the latest data from Kantar grocers.
Analysts said this is an acceleration of the holiday season as the reintroduction of national lockdowns and the closings of cafes, restaurants and pubs have again restricted eating outside the home.
Kantar added that shoppers spent £ 1 billion more on grocery and beverage stores in January compared to the same month last year.
Fraser McKevitt, director of Retail and Consumer Insight at Kantar, said, “In addition to the usual happy new year resolutions, shoppers wanted to treat themselves in January to deal with another month of constraints.”
He pointed out that vegan ranges are particularly popular. 6.6 million households bought vegan-specific products – an increase of 10% compared to the previous year.
There was a 23% increase in vegan products in January with families adopting Veganuary, he added.
Another New Years movement – dry January – also saw 12% growth in both non-alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers, though this was far outweighed by alcohol sales, which rose 29% over the twelve weeks to £ 234 million.
Mr. McKevitt added, “This time also captured a unique New Year’s Eve – many people celebrate the night at home rather than going out or taking in family and friends.
“Delivery companies like Just Eat and Deliveroo saw the benefit of having more people than usual in a takeout and these services represented 6% of all online shopping trips on December 31st.”
Iceland saw the strongest growth of any physical store supermarket, with sales up 21.8% in the twelve weeks over the previous year.
It was followed by Morrisons by 14.3%, Tesco by 12.2%, Lidl by 12.1% and Sainsbury by 12%.
Despite the strong growth and increase in sales that remains a “must-have” retailer due to the fact that restaurants, pubs and cafes remain closed, Iceland has decided to keep its vacation rates for business rates.
Morrisons, Tesco, Lidl and Sainsbury all agreed to repay their interest bills during the period.
The online-only supermarket Ocado was the strongest overall, with sales up 36.6% over the previous year.
The slowest growth was recorded by Aldi, which achieved a sales increase of only 5.7%, followed by Asda with 9.9%, Waitrose with 11.3% and Co-op with 11.4%.
A year later, since the first Covid-19 cases were discovered, Kantar said he saw clear shopping patterns that split the generations.
In the four weeks ending January 24, those under the age of 28, who are typically more open to physical stores, increased spending at larger physical stores by 12%.
However, those over 45 reduced spending in larger supermarkets by 1% and turned to online shopping instead.
Online shopping reached a record 14% market share in January, led by the oldest population group.
Mr. McKevitt stated, “Retired households have increased their online spending by an amazing 229% compared to January 2020.
“Older people are much more comfortable and competent with ordering online and now represent 28% of the 6.4 million who used online services in the UK this month.”
The data also shows parents are spending an additional £ 50 a month on groceries in January than last year to provide lunch for children unable to attend schools that are closed during the current English lockdown.
Products including pasta rose 22%, chocolate spread 42% and peanut butter 39%.
The high growth is expected to slow as vaccine rollouts roll in and the hospitality sector eventually re-opens, while there are currently no significant price increases at the end of the Brexit transition period.