Convenience stores appear to be benefitting from people shopping more often and following guidance to stay closer to home during the coronavirus outbreak.
The latest grocery market share figures from data and insight agency Kantar indicate that sales for independent retailers and symbols rose collectively by 16.1% over the past 12 weeks.
Taking the grocery industry as a whole, a growth rate of 20.6% in the most recent four weeks made March the biggest month of grocery sales ever recorded.
While week-on-week sales were growing strongly at the beginning of the month, it was on Monday 16 March that the public headed to the shops in unusually high numbers. Between Monday 16 and Thursday 19 March, 88% of households visited a grocer, making five trips on average – adding up to 42 million extra shopping trips across four days.
Growth has been primarily driven by people making additional shopping trips and buying slightly more, rather than a widespread increase in very large trolleys. The average household spent an extra £62.92 during the past four weeks, equivalent to adding five days’ worth of groceries.
Looking ahead, restrictions on movement and relatively full grocery cupboards will mean the incredibly high levels of shopping trips made in March will drop off over the coming weeks. Regular trips to smaller local stores look likely to continue, as people avoid travelling and queues at stores with one-in-one-out policies in place. Sales of long life and non-perishable items will slow as households work their way through stocks and consumers focus on replenishing their supply of fresh foods.
While much-reported panic buying has been concentrated to a relatively low number of individuals so far, Kantar predicted that this too will subside as consumers gain confidence in retailers’ abilities to maintain grocery supplies and keep stock on shelves.