Meal kits, grocery boxes and takeaways surge in popularity amid UK lockdown, Cardlytics shows

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New data from purchase intelligence platform Cardlytics reveals delivery services like takeaways, meal kits and grocery boxes have seen a huge growth in sales as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The data is based on the purchasing habits of 22 million UK bank accounts, 11 million of which use delivery services.

The introduction of lockdown opened the door for online retail and delivery services to flourish. Spend on do-it-yourself meal kits and grocery boxes like Hello Fresh, Gousto and Mindful Chef more than doubled, growing by 114% in April compared with last year, as the country sought to recreate restaurant recipes in their kitchens as they stayed indoors.

Takeaways also experienced a spike in demand in April. Overall spend on the likes of Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo increased 39% as consumers swapped their meals out for TV dinners.

Increase in basket sizes and stockpiling boosts supermarkets

Changing consumer habits, as well as the early impact of stockpiling, helped cushion the blow of lower consumer retail spending overall, as spend at grocers rose. Spend in supermarkets was 14.5% higher this April than in the same period last year as average basket sizes increased significantly. The average spend of £31.18 in April represented a 38% increase on the previous month (£22.16).

Stockpiling also drove activity. At its peak in the second week in March, spend was up 43% on the same period the prior year.

Despite the fortunes of supermarkets, the high street felt the shock of Covid-19 most acutely thanks to social distancing measures introduced by Government that shut down all non-essential premises. Fashion retailers were most affected, both online and on the high-street, with spend falling by 15% and 68% respectively in April, compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, spend in restaurants plummeted 96% as big chains and smaller independents were forced to shut under the new regulations. Petrol stations were equally hit by the travel restrictions imposed due to the virus, with consumers spending 62% less at the pump in April compared to last year.

Door-to-door economy continues to grow year on year

Beyond lockdown, the popularity of delivery services has been on an upward trajectory and showing no sign of slowing. Consumer spend on delivery services rose 15% in the last year[1] (April 2019 – April 2020) compared with the same period a year prior, driven by a higher number of transactions per customer.

Hungry shoppers continue to be attracted by the convenience of paying for their meal kits or takeaways at the click of a button. In the last year consumers spent 36% more on meal kits from the likes of Able & Cole and Graze than they did the year before, whilst take-away services such as Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats enjoyed a 21% rise in spending across the year to April 2020.

Time-poor, tech savvy consumers are increasingly turning to online services and apps and spending more than ever before. The number of transactions per customer, was up 10% across all delivery services between May 2019 – April 2020 compared to the year before, while spend per customer increased by 10% during this period.

Duncan Smith, commercial director at Cardlytics UK, said: “The gradual rise of the UK’s door-to-door economy has become a relentless surge. Just as working from home has dramatically impacted the importance of workplace technology, so too has lockdown transformed the role of delivery services. More and more brands are embracing this approach as this economy becomes the new normal for us all.

“More of us than ever before are choosing to dine in, try at home, or do-it-ourselves, and with brands offering more choice and more delivery options, it’s unlikely the number of us ordering to the comfort of our sofas will go anywhere but up, even after lockdown lifts.”