UK shoppers stick with less frequent ‘big shop’

Grocery shopping habits changed at the start of the pandemic and consumers are continuing to make bigger, less frequent trips to the supermarket, according to a new report from Kantar.

The data, insights and consulting company says that in the past month UK households visited the supermarket 15.7 times on average. That’s a slight increase from the 15.3 trips in the same period in 2020, but consumers are still making 40 million fewer trips per month than they were in 2019. At this rate of change, it would take three years to get back to our old shopping patterns.

Online sales have also levelled out. For the second month in a row, online grocery sales accounted for 12.4% of the market and a fifth of households now consistently order groceries online each month.

The report also said that supermarket price inflation has reached its highest level for more than a year.

Grocery price inflation reached 2.1% in the four weeks to 31 October, the highest since August 2020 when retailers were still scaling back promotions to discourage stockpiling.

As prices rise in certain categories, Kantar expects people to continue to shop around to find the best deals. Already, households visit an average of 3.3 supermarkets per month in order to find the best value for money.

Consumers are also getting ready for Christmas early, Kantar found. Frozen poultry sales in October were up 27% on last year, while 4.7 million households bought mince pies and 1.6 million households bought a Christmas pudding — 400,000 more than last year.