Press Room

European grocery prices rise at slowest pace for 6 years

London, Mon 23 May 2016. The prices paid for everyday items, such as food, drinks and toiletries, rose at its slowest pace across Europe in six years, according to Nielsen retail performance data released today. As a result, consumers are buying more of these items – sales volumes increased year-on-year for the eighth consecutive quarter.

In the first quarter of 2016, prices paid for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) rose just 0.7%, the smallest increase since Q1 2010 (0.5%), whilst volumes rose 0.8% year-on-year. Consequently, grocery retailers saw a 1.5% increase in takings at the till – the lowest figure for nearly three years (1.2% in Q2 2013).

“Europe was dragged down this quarter by significant falls in prices being paid in two of the big five markets – Germany and Italy,” says Nielsen’s European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede. “Lower prices are being driven by fierce price competition among the retailers and falling production costs, mainly due to lower energy prices.”

In Belgium, prices paid for FMCG goods increased by 3.4% – the highest increase seen in four years. Though volumes of products sold declined by -1.7%, the increase in prices contributed to 1.7% increase at the till.

Across the 21 European countries measured, Turkey had the highest growth in takings at the tills (+9.7%), followed by Poland (+4.8%) and Hungary (+4.6%). At the other end of the scale, the biggest declines were in Greece (-6.1%) and Finland (-2.8%).

Of the big five western European markets, Spain (+3.1%) had the highest growth, followed by France (+2.2%). Germany was the only one of the big five to experience a year-on-year decline in takings at the tills (-0.4%) and one of only four countries in the whole study to decline.

The UK moved into positive territory (+0.5%) for the first time in nearly two years (since Q2, 2014), however, the growth figure was still the sixth lowest among all 21 countries.

Vandenheede observes: “The picture across Europe is one of disparity, almost chaos. There is no consistency in performance between countries and no one big trend. As far as the FMCG sector is concerned, Europe is not behaving like a unified market.”


– ENDS –



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


More press information

Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
Tel: 020 3544 3570
Mob: 0780 313 1144

Neil Beston
PR Director, UK & Europe
Tel: 020 3103 3959
Mob: 07770 644136