The amount Europeans paid for everyday groceries (on the widest possible basket of product categories that are continuously tracked by Nielsen) increased by +2.3% in Q4 2018, relatively lesser as compared to +3.8% in Q3 2018.
Multiple indicators suggest slowing down of the economy in large European countries especially in the fourth quarter of 2018, leading to FMCG nominal growth levels of +3.1% MAT TY1, which is exactly similar to the growth rates recorded in the year 2017. The volume growth in Q4 2018 has been recorded at negative levels (-0.4%) — lowest volume growth (-0.5%) recorded since Q1 2017.
Overall this year, despite some upward trends in nominal growth value in first and third quarter of 2018 (+3.9% and +3.8% respectively), it can be noticed overall growth for the year (+3.1%) has been dampened by fourth quarter growth numbers – due to dampening as consumers have become cautious towards their FMCG spending and buying 0.4% lesser percentage of items and paying 2.7% more per item than they did in the same quarter last year.
How different countries compare
Turkey continues to show the highest year-on-year growth in takings at the tills (+24.2%), contributed due to inflation; however there is a decline in volume growth (-2.7%) in Q4 2018. Other countries that have recorded high growth numbers are Hungary, Poland, Norway and Sweden (+5.5%, +4.3%, +2.7%, +2.5% and +2.2% respectively). On the other hand Switzerland (-0.4%) had the smallest growth. Switzerland ranked last of the 28th countries.
Spain had the highest growth rate (+2.2%) among the big five Western European markets, followed by Italy and UK (1.4% and 0.8% respectively), whilst Germany had the lowest growth among this group at zero growth levels.
In comparison to the European average, the prices paid in Switzerland rose 1.2% while volumes fell -1.6%, meaning total grocery – or what the industry calls fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) – spend fell -0.4%.
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1 MAT TY: Moving Annual Total This Year