UK consumers spent an extra £450 million (€500.9m) on groceries during the 12 weeks leading up to 30 December 2018, compared to the same period last year, said Kantar.
“Despite the supermarket sector growing at 1.6% – its slowest rate since March 2017 – the retailers clocked in another record-breaking Christmas as households racked up an average spend of £383 (€427) in grocery bills for the month of December,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight.
“Saturday 22 December proved to be the busiest shopping day of the year: more than half of all households visited one of the grocers in a last-minute Christmas dash, with 1.7 million additional customers walking through the aisles compared to the Saturday before," he 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.”
Festive-themed confectionery saw a 7% increase in sales while non-alcoholic beer brought in sales of £7.6 million (€8.5m).
Asda’s ‘Extra Special’ range was the fastest growing premium line of the major retailers’ private label brands. This allowed the supermarket to achieve growth of 0.7% and meant it “come out top” among the big four, said McKevitt.
He added: “Asda was also bolstered by a standout online performance as its e-commerce sales rocketed by 12%.”
Hard discounters also continued to make inroads, with two-thirds of all households shopping at either Aldi or Lidl over the 12-week period.
This culminated in a highest-ever combined Christmas market share of 12.8%, according to Kantar WorldPanel.
McKevitt added: “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 (€10) 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.”