Older shoppers returning to the supermarket

Households across the UK made 13 million more supermarket trips in March compared with the previous month, and there are signs of growing confidence among older shoppers in particular.

New figures from market research firm Kantar reveal that in-store grocery spending for the last four weeks is down by 3.0% versus the same time last year, when people were stocking up ahead of the first national Covid-19 lockdown.

But compared with pre-pandemic levels, grocery spending remains considerably higher – boosted by the continued restrictions on dining out. In the 12 weeks to 21 March 2021, the average household spent an extra £134 on take-home groceries compared with the same period two years ago.

The figures also show that supermarkets have seen a slowdown in online growth this month as more shoppers return to physical stores. While online sales for March were 89% higher than a year ago, the channel’s share of the market dropped back to 14.5% from the record of 15.4% in February 2021.

Notably, 143,000 fewer over-65s placed digital grocery orders in March.

“Now largely vaccinated, this age group increased its trips to bricks-and-mortar outlets by 6.8% – more than double the national rate,” Kantar said.