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Surge in Grocery Spending Reported

31 March 2020 - 09:46 by Simon Crisp

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Brits are ploughing large amounts of cash into groceries both via safe shopping online and at bricks and mortar stores in an attempt to stock up on essential items in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is according to figures published by Nielsen last week which showed that there was a £467 million increase in grocery spending in the course of just seven days, representing a 22 per cent rise in activity in this market segment compared with the same period in 2019.

Consumers are believed to have responded dramatically to the rumours of a lockdown of the UK, which eventually came to pass and arguably justified the stockpiling of goods which certain portions of the public had done for precisely this reason.

Different product types proved to be more popular than others, with spending on household items rising by almost two-thirds, followed by a 62 per cent increase in sales of non-perishable goods that consumers clearly purchased to help ride out the lockdown without having to rely on having easy access to fresh produce.

Frozen food sales were up by a third, while there was a ten percent increase in spending on alcoholic beverages. No doubt some will be surprised to see the relatively modest uptick in sales of beer, wine and spirits brought about by coronavirus, but perhaps it shows that consumers are a little more level-headed than could have been expected.

Spending on children’s medicine more than doubled, while there was a 181 per cent rise in the sale of UHT milk and other forms of long-life dairy products.

Pasta sales spiked by 168 per cent, and bath and shower products also saw a solid 152 per cent uptick in activity. While it has been one of the most talked about products, toilet tissue sales increased by a comparatively modest 140 per cent.