You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Farewell to the weekly shop? Britons are sliding back to pre-pandemic supermarket habits

The i 5 days ago Alys Key

Shoppers are returning to some of their pre-lockdown habits amid a return to school and the office, according to the latest grocery sales data.

Overall sales in supermarkets fell by 1.9 per cent during the 12 weeks to 5 September compared with a year ago, according to data analytics and brand consulting company, Kantar, although they remain 8.7 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels.

While the early stages of the pandemic saw many people who had previously bought food multiple times a week switch to doing one large haul, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said there were signs people are returning to smaller, convenience-oriented shops.

“There are big lifestyle changes on the horizon with commuters heading back to the office and the return to school this autumn, and we’d expect this to impact how people shop,” he said.

“In the first week of September we measured the highest supermarket footfall all year outside of the Easter period with more people out and about picking up items as they go.

“That suggests a hint of change, and could see shoppers shun the ‘big shop’ in favour of more frequent top-up buying.”

Enthusiasm for home cooking also looks to be waning, with an 11 per cent rise in ready meal sales this month.

Mr McKevitt also anticipated that spending which has gone on groceries in recent months could transfer to coffee shops as workers return to the office.

“But we shouldn’t expect to shift from habits learned in lockdown straight back to pre-Covid patterns overnight,” he said. “It’s most likely that the needle will settle somewhere in between.”

Online shopping is another area in which Kantar’s data shows a shift, with market share falling to 12.2 per cent compared to 13 per cent four weeks ago.

Basket sizes on digital platforms are down as well, the average order now worth £72.28, down £17 from its peak in the early stages of the pandemic.

With businesses across the board facing supply disruption and higher prices for raw materials, supermarkets were no exception. Grocery prices were up 1.3 per cent in the past four weeks compared with a year ago, on account of fewer special offers from retailers.

“For much of 2021 shoppers have been shielded from price increases, with more being sold on promotion this year compared to 2020,” said Mr McKevitt. “But in the past month only 27.5 per cent of spending was done on deals.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From The i

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon