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Price Europeans pay for groceries rises by highest level in four years

London, 24 November 2017. The amount Europeans paid for everyday groceries such as food, toiletries and cleaning products rose 2.5% in the third quarter – the highest level for four years.

“The increase in prices being paid for groceries is down to two things – price inflation and shoppers actively choosing more expensive goods,” said Olivier Deschamps, Senior Vice President Retailer Services Europe. “Broadly speaking, the latter is due to improving employment and wage levels so shoppers feel more comfortable trading up, such as to more fresh food, premium private-label ranges and national brands.”

Improving consumer sentiment meant, in addition to paying higher prices, shoppers also bought slightly more items (volumes rose 0.3%), meaning that overall grocery spend across the 21 European countries measured by Nielsen rose 2.8% year-on-year.

In comparison in Belgium, the prices paid rose 1.2% while volumes fell -0.8%, meaning total grocery – or what the industry calls fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) – spend rose 0.4%.

How different countries compare

Turkey had the highest year-on-year growth in takings at the tills (+14.9%), followed by Hungary (+5.3%) and the Czech Republic (+5.2%). In contrast, Switzerland (-0.6%) – the only country to see a decline – Belgium (+0.4%) and Denmark (+0.6%) had the smallest growth. Belgium ranked 20th of the 21 countries.

Spain’s growth rate (+4.2%) was the highest among the big five western European markets, followed by Italy (+3.1%). France had the lowest growth among this group (+1.0%), and the fourth lowest among all 21 countries.

“Consumer sentiment has improved in 2017 and economic growth has followed suit – the European Central Bank expects the current +2.2% GDP growth rate for the Eurozone, the highest in 10 years, to continue for the rest of the year,” notes Deschamps. “So, we’re seeing a continuation of the sales recovery in Southern Europe and lower – but now sustainable – growth in Northern Europe. Improving consumer sentiment and economic growth should be reflected in grocery sales in the months ahead.”


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.