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European grocery market grows at fastest rate for three years

The amount consumers across Europe spent on everyday items, such as food, drinks and toiletries, rose by 3.7% in the second quarter of 2017 – the highest level for three years.

Nielsen data on grocery retailers across 21 European countries shows that this 3.7% year-on-year increase in takings at the tills for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) reflected a 2.0% increase in the prices shoppers paid and a 1.7% rise in the volume of items they bought.

This more buoyant FMCG market across Europe is a reflection of four key factors,” said Olivier Deschamps, Senior Vice President Retailer Services Europe. “Improving economic conditions, particularly in the likes of France and Spain, falling unemployment in a number of countries, consumer confidence rising to its highest level in years as well as inflation remaining under control. The timing of Easter also played a bit-part role but the dashboards are all green at the moment.”

Q2 2017 performance

Turkey had the highest year-on-year growth in takings at the tills (+14.2%), followed by Slovakia (+9.3%) and Austria (+6.7%). In contrast, Switzerland (-0.7%), Denmark (+1.2%) and Greece (+1.9%) saw the smallest growth.

Italy’s growth rate (+4.0%) was the highest among the big five western European markets, followed by France (+3.2%). Germany had the lowest growth among this group (+2.3%), and the fifth lowest among all 21 countries.

In Belgium and the Netherlands, nominal growth was the highest its been in recent years – reaching 2.8% and 2.9% respectively. In Belgium,both prices and volumes increased by 1.4%, marking the first growth in volume sales since the fourth quarter of 2015. In the Netherlands, volumes grew by 0.2%, while prices rose 2.7%.

Deschamps concludes: “With GDP growth across Europe projected to remain at around 1¾ per cent in 2017 and, assuming no major political or economic shocks over the next six months, the outlook for the grocery market for the rest of year is a continuation Southern Europe’s sales recovery and Northern Europe’s volume growth.”


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.

CONTACT: Stephanie Manning,

CONTACT: Stephanie Manning,
CONTACT: Stephanie Manning,
CONTACT: Stephanie Manning,
CONTACT: Stephanie Manning,