Sales growths at the UK’s major supermarkets declined for the third successive 12-week period – according to the latest retailer performance figures released today by global information and insights company Nielsen.
Unit sales (volume) decreased -1.7% year-on-year in both the 12-week periods ending 9 November 2013 and 12 October 2013. These followed two previous growth rates of -0.1% and+0.4%.
Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, said: “Why is the UK supermarket sector slowing? It’s partly down to shoppers becoming more savvy and displaying two behaviours. Firstly, more of them are shopping at grocery discounters and buying more of their regular items there. Secondly, they are putting off spending until nearer Christmas and chasing supermarket deals; retailers expect a significant amount of vouchers and loyalty rewards to be redeemed in December.
“Colder weather often encourages visits to the larger out-of-town stores to stock up. So, we expect many consumers to leave their big Christmas shop until well into December – with the likes of Aldi and Lidl also really benefiting if their momentum continues.”
Sainsbury only one of big four to maintain market share
Sainsbury’s market share remained at 16.6% in the 12 weeks ending 9 November 2013, the same as the corresponding period last year. In contrast, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all lost market share compared to a year ago.
Due to its sales value increasing +29.1% year-on-year, Aldi’s market share is up 0.9% while Lidl’s market share is up +0.1% due to a +17.4% increase in year-on-year sales value.
TV and press advertising spend falls, overall, but Lidl and Aldi are up
Alongside the falling sales growths, TV and press advertising spend by the 10 leading UK supermarkets in the four weeks ending 9 November 2013 was down -4.9%over the same period a year ago to £33.7m.
Morrisons had the biggest year-on-year increase in spend (up 40% to £5.8m) followed by Lidl (up 38% to £2.4m) and Aldi (up 21% to £4.0m). Tesco was the highest spending food retailer on TV and press in these four weeks (£6.6m) – 12% less than a year ago.
Watkins said: “Although media spend from the retailers is down overall, we expect a rebound during the next four weeks as their high profile Christmas advertising really takes hold. Lidl’s ‘Deluxe’ and Aldi’s ‘Specially Selected’ Christmas messaging is already underway and sets them in good stead for a chance at a good slice of those ‘late and big’ shopping baskets.
“The peak shopping period should be mid-December onwards. Assuming a similar pattern to last year, more than 20% of sales for the 12 weeks of Christmas are expected in the two weeks leading up to Christmas day, with peak trading commencing on 19 December.”