Asda And Tesco Best Performing Of Big Four Supermarkets Over Christmas Period
Latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel show Asda and Tesco outperformed Sainsbury’s and Morrisons over the festive period, although Aldi and Lidl remained the fastest growing retailers. Overall, the supermarket sector performed relatively well with consumers spending an extra £450m on groceries during the 12 weeks to 30 December compared with last year, despite lower inflation taking its toll.
Sales in sector grew 1.6% to a record £29.3bn over the period, although this was the slowest growth rate since March 2017. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Although the grocers achieved record sales, overall spend was actually tempered by lower inflation of 1.3% – that’s less than half the level of like-for-like inflation of 3.6% which was recorded in Christmas 2017. This slower inflation rate helped shoppers to manage their festive budgets, with 60% of customers looking to make savvier decisions to make their money go further over the holidays.”
Although growing at half the rate of last year, premium own label lines still increased by 3.7% over the period – hitting a record £1.1bn in sales – as customers looked to trade up on quality for their Christmas dinner. Kantar Worldpanel highlighted that Asda’s ‘Extra Special’ range was the fastest growing of any premium line of the major retailers, helping the supermarket achieve growth of 0.7% and come out top among the Big Four. Asda was also bolstered by strong online performance with e-commerce sales climbing 12%.
Almost neck and neck with Asda, Tesco experienced growth of 0.6% boosted by an extra 125,000 customers shopping at the supermarket, particularly at its larger stores. Kantar Worldpanel said Tesco was the only retailer which increased its promotional activity year-on-year, bringing in discounts such as its 29-pence pricing strategy on vegetables. Tesco’s market share now stands at 27.8% – down 0.3 percentage points compared with this time last year.
Sainsbury’s market share dropped by 0.3 percentage points after its sales fell by 0.4%. Meanwhile, Morrisons market share declined by 0.2 percentage points to 10.6% despite sales growth of 0.1%.
McKevitt commented: “The discounters have continued to make their mark over Christmas: two-thirds of all households shopped at either Aldi or Lidl over the 12-week period culminating in a highest-ever combined Christmas market share of 12.8%. With sales up 10.4%, Aldi narrowly won the crown of the fastest-growing supermarket and it appears its marketing efforts are paying off – at least when it comes to vegetables. The return of Kevin the Carrot contributed to an 18% increase in carrot sales and nearly one in five households bought the vegetable at the discounter.”
Lidl experienced growth of 9.4%. Nearly one-third of the discounter’s December growth came through sales of branded products, while its ‘Deluxe’ line saw sales jump 33%.
Meanwhile, the Co-op was the only retailer to beat its 2017 growth rate, and this now stands at 3.2%. The convenience retailer’s market share increased for the seventh period in a row, up by 0.1 percentage points to 5.9%. With 100 new stores set to open this year, the Co-op is expected to see its good fortunes continue into 2019.
Iceland now accounts for 2.3% of the market – up 0.1 percentage points compared with this time last year. Four-fifths of its growth came from its non-frozen lines as perceptions of the retailer continue to shift.
Sales at Waitrose dropped 1.7% and it now holds market share of 5.0% – down 0.2 percentage points.
Meanwhile, Ocado’s market share fell by 0.1 percentage points despite growth of 1.3%. McKevitt commented: “Unlike its high street counterpart, the grocery market has been less affected by the move to online. Although e-commerce is growing – up 3.9% compared to this time last year – online grocery shopping is failing to attract new customers. Instead, growth stemmed from existing customers spending an additional £9.07 over the month of December. Though not included in our till roll data set, Amazon remains one to watch as its FMCG sales jumped by 16% over the 12-week period.”