Press Room

Shoppers expected to spend £6.5bn at supermarkets in fortnight up to Christmas


Driven by huge surge in advertising spend and shoppers’ desire to treat themselves after difficult year

London, 19 December 2014. A huge increase in TV and press advertising is expected to drive shoppers to spend over £6.5 billion at the UK’s leading supermarkets in the two weeks to Christmas, according to Nielsen.

In the first week of December, the leading supermarkets spent 36%¹ more on TV and press advertising than the same week a year ago. In the four weeks ending 6 December they spent £63.4 million – some 9.2% more than the same period last year.

Aldi spent the most in the four week period: £9.8 million, 26% more than last year. Lidl increased spend the most – up 85% to £6.7 million.

“Retailers are investing heavily in advertising to tempt shoppers into their stores for the peak trading period which starts today,” says Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “Advertising messages include seasonal promotions, lowest prices and also the savings and rewards available from loyalty schemes.”

Sales during the four weeks ending 6 December 2014 were down –0.6%² (in value) versus the same period a year ago – growths having been hampered by an eight-year low in food deflation at -0.2%³.

Although sales volume also dropped -0.4% over the four weeks, there was positive growth in the single week ending 6 December – the first time this has happened since July.

“Despite falling sales, the underlying trend is one of improvement,” adds Watkins. “We expect a relatively better December, with +0.4% value growths for the final 12 weeks of the year – ending months of successive declines.

“Many shoppers have been cautious with their spending all year. But savings made from recent price wars could now be used for treats in the run up to Christmas. A third of households will shop at Aldi or Lidl this week, so the major supermarkets face intense competition for this seasonal trade-up.

“Overall, shoppers are expected to spend over £6.5 billion in the two weeks up to the big day, so there’s still much for the retailers to play for in the remaining days of Christmas trading.”



All figures are from Nielsen Homescan Total Till unless otherwise stated
¹Source: Nielsen Ad Dynamix
²Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples
³Source: BRC-Nielsen SPI

About Nielsen Homescan Total Till

The Nielsen continuous 14,500 GB household panel is geo-demographically balanced and designed to measure household purchasing through a wide range of channels. It includes all food and drink and non-food spend (e.g. household, personal care, clothing, electrical, cards and stationery, toys, music, general merchandise, etc.) It represents the total amount paid (after all coupons and vouchers), found on the till receipt.

About Nielsen Scantrack

The Nielsen scanning service that measures total store sales every week by SKU for 15,000 shops across all food and drink trade channels in GB. This uses the actual EPOS data from retailers, thus, Scantrack is the most robust and reliable measure of FMCG sales and is integrated with Homescan for the key indicators of retailer and category performance. The total market measured is £145bn per annum. ‘Grocery Multiples’ is a defined sub-set of the major supermarkets that also includes all food sales from Marks and Spencer (but excludes Aldi and Lidl). The Grocery Multiples account for over £121bn of all GB food, drink and supermarket general merchandise sales.