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European FMCG prices rising at slowest level for over 5 years

London – 18 February 2016 Sales volumes of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are on the rise as consumers in Europe take advantage of historically sluggish price rises, according to Nielsen European retail performance data released today.  For the seventh consecutive quarter, sales volumes of products like food, drinks and toiletries increased year-on-year.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, volumes rose 0.8% year-on-year, while sales values rose just 1.3%, the lowest increase since Q3 2010 (1.1%).  Consequently, retailers saw a 2.1% increase in their takings at the till.

After a small increase in volume sales in Belgium during the third quarter, volumes sales declined again—down by 0.8%. Price increases (up 2.3%), however, drove nominal growth up to 1.5% for the fourth quarter. A main driver of growth in Belgium during the fourth quarter was the drinks category.

“Sales values are being kept in check by a combination of things,” says Nielsen’s European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede. “Production costs are falling thanks to lower oil prices, and retailers are still employing heavy promotional activity to combat the increased popularity of the discounters. Furthermore, almost three in ten Europeans are switching to cheaper grocery brands to save money.”

Across the 21 European countries measured, sales values fell sharpest in Switzerland (-1.6% year-on-year) and Portugal (-1.3%). A further four markets – Finland, Ireland, Germany and the Czech Republic – also experienced value deflation. At the other end of the scale, the highest rises were in Turkey (+9.2%) and Hungary (+3.1%).

Overall, Turkey continued to experience the highest nominal year-on-year sales growth by far (+9.5%), followed by Hungary (+5.5%), Sweden (+4.9%) and Greece (+4.8%).

Of the big five western European markets, Spain (+2.7%) had the highest nominal growth, followed by Germany and France (both +1.5%). Only four European countries experienced declines in nominal growth: Switzerland (-2.3%), Finland (-1.1%), UK (-0.5%) and Slovakia (-0.2%).

Read as: Europe’s 2.1% nominal growth reflects a 1.3% increase in prices paid and a 0.8% increase in volume

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Unit Value Change = the change in the price paid by a shopper for a unit (item), as a result of price inflation, and/or the shopper substituting a unit of one value for a unit of a different value.

Nominal Value Growth (or the change in takings at the tills) = Unit Value Change + Volume Change

About the Nielsen Growth Reporter

The Nielsen Growth Reporter compares overall market dynamics (value and unit growth) in the FMCG sector across Europe. It is based on the sales measurement that Nielsen performs in 21 European markets, and covers sales in grocery, hypermarket, supermarket, discount and convenience channels. It’s based on the widest possible basket of product categories that are continuously measured by Nielsen in each of these countries and channels.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit

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Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
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Neil Beston
PR Director, UK & Europe
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