£1.68bn spent in UK supermarkets during a week of wedding fever, IRI reports

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While an estimated 1.9 billion people watched the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on Saturday 19 May, it was UK supermarkets that were smiling as shoppers pushed up sales of sparkling wine, cakes and baking products. According to analysis from IRI, a leading provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers, shoppers spent a total of £1.68 billion (IRI Retail Advantage w/e 19 May 2018) in grocery value sales.

IRI’s granular store-level data – the fastest available in the market – from the UK’s major multiples (Tesco, Waitrose, M&S, Morrison, Asda, Iceland, Co-Op, Ocado and Sainsbury’s) shows that baking products were up 5.6% against the previous week’s sales, despite the category being in decline by 1.6% since last year.  Sales of dried fruit and flour were up marginally, while sugar and sweeteners saw a bigger uplift of 5.8%, delivering almost £4 million in value sales. Non-bakers also helped boost sales of cakes, up 9.3% over the previous week, worth £20 million in sales.

IRI’s figures also show that we were raising a toast to the happy couple, with sparkling wine sales of £20.7 million, up 12.5% over the previous week and up 36.6% on the same time last year. Still wine was down 3%, as was beer and cider, as shoppers deemed the royal occasion worth pushing the boat out for. Spirits saw a slight increase of 0.8%, worth £60 million to the supermarkets.

Tim Dummer, commercial & strategy director, IRI comments: “It’s no surprise that UK consumers splashed out on sparkling wine and cakes during arguably the biggest party of the year. The combination of a special celebration, beautiful weather and an increase in visitor numbers to the UK saw supermarkets’ tills ringing.”

Grocers saw increases elsewhere, with sales of soft fruit up 7.1% and fresh cream up 10.7% over the previous week, adding a combined £39.5 million to the tills. Non-seasonal party accessories, as expected, were also up 7.6%.

Soft drinks saw the biggest decline during a week of wedding fever, with total soft drinks down 4.3%, with water suffering the most, down 6.7%.