Press Room

European grocery market growing at fastest rate for a year

London, 1 March 2017. The amount consumers across Europe spent on everyday items, such as food, drinks and toiletries, rose by its highest level for a year, according to Nielsen retail performance data released today.

In the final quarter of 2016, grocery retailers across the 21 European countries measured saw a 1.8% year-on-year increase in takings at the till for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) – the highest growth since the end of 2015. This 1.8% increase was a combination of a 0.9% increase in prices paid and a 0.8% rise in the volume purchased.

Value of European shopping basket up 41% in a decade

In 2016, the value of the European FMCG shopping basket was 41% higher than in 2006, while the amount of goods purchased has increased 11%. In that time, Turkey has seen the highest rise among the 21 countries – tripling over the decade – whilst Greece was the only one to see a decline (-11%) since 2006.

“The value of the shopping basket has increased due to a number of factors including inflationary price rises, people buying more goods and changing their product mix by swapping in more premium and fresh foods,” explains Olivier Deschamps, Senior Vice President Retailer Services Europe.

Q4 2016 performance

Comparing the final quarter of 2015 to the final quarter of 2016, Turkey had the highest growth in takings at the tills (+8.8%), followed by Poland (+4.7%) and Hungary (+4.5%). At the other end of the scale, the biggest declines were in Finland (-3.5%) and Greece (-2.9%).

Spain’s growth rate (+3.6%) was the highest among the big five western European markets, followed by Italy (+1.6%). Germany had the lowest growth among this group (+0.3%), and the fourth lowest among all 21 countries.

Read as: Europe’s 1.8% nominal growth reflects a 0.9% increase in prices paid and a 0.8% increase in volume

“After the weak start to 2016, when sales growths slowed, it was a stronger end to the year for the food retail industry,” says Deschamps. “Although consumer confidence held steady it remained low and growths in 2016 were generally lower than previous years with volume growth at its lowest since 2013. Things improved in the second half of the year, mainly driven by Central European countries and IBERIA.

“In contrast, Western Europe saw little momentum in volume sales, alongside unit value deflation in Spain and Italy and low inflation in France and the UK.”


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.