In the face of consistent high prices, loyalty programmes offered by supermarkets are playing a crucial role in sustaining the UK's grocery sales, as revealed by recent data from NIQ.
The statistics for the four weeks leading up to 7 October showed a 9.1% increase in total till sales at UK supermarkets, closely mirroring the rise in retail food inflation at 9.9%.
Volume sales experienced a marginal decline of 0.4%, suggesting that consumers are capitalising on price reductions offered, especially those linked to loyalty schemes.
Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, noted a positive shift in the volume of purchases over the past month.
This change is attributed to the financial strain experienced by households the previous year due to escalating costs in fuel, energy, and food.
Additionally, an uptick in consumer confidence regarding personal finances is anticipated to drive growth in the upcoming half-term period and receive a further push in early November with the launch of seasonal advertising campaigns.
While in-store sales saw an 8.1% increase during the four-week period, online sales outpaced them with a 10.8% rise, making up 11% of total FMCG sales.
The primary motivations for consumers opting for online shopping were identified as cost and time savings.
Despite the ongoing impact of inflation, evident in categories like confectionery, frozen goods, and crisps and snacks, volume sales in the fruit, vegetables, and salads category are on the upswing, marking a 3.6% increase.
Notably, unit sales of raspberries, strawberries, and vine tomatoes witnessed significant boosts.