Press Room

Consumers continue to stock up as supermarket prices tumble

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  Sales volumes at supermarkets rise for fifth straight month as price deflation hits all time low

London, 8 May 2015. The volume of items purchased from the UK’s leading supermarkets increased year-on-year for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest data from global information and insights company Nielsen.

Sales volume increased +0.4%¹ during the four weeks ending 25 April 2015 versus the same period a year ago. 

Food prices fell for the fourth consecutive month, with food deflation remaining at an all-time low  (-0.9%²) in April. Consequently, sales value during the four-week period fell -1.2%¹ versus the same period a year ago.

“Food deflation and falling spend-per-visit are the biggest challenges facing UK supermarkets,” says Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “Although retailer price wars are contributing to sustainable growth in the amount people buy, price is still less of a differentiator for building loyalty to a supermarket, than the overall store and shopper experience.

“Promotions – which have increased to 34% of sales – continue to be used to drive incremental spend. But retailers will need to work much harder at communicating why shoppers should choose them, beyond just price. Lidl, for example – currently the biggest spender on advertising of the supermarkets – is now focusing more on its quality and fresh food messaging than simply low prices.”

Sainsbury’s are Big Four’s best performer

During the 12 weeks ending 25 April, Sainsbury’s saw the smallest decline in year-on-year sales among the Big Four (-0.1%) while Asda had the largest (-2.5%).

Aldi’s sales grew 19.6% year-on-year, and Lidl’s, 7.1%. Their combined market share hit 11% – more than twice that in the same period two years ago (4.9%).

Marks & Spencer (3.6%), Waitrose (1.7%) and Iceland (0.9%) were the only other supermarkets to see a year-on-year increase in sales. 

Lidl biggest spender on TV and Press advertising for second consecutive month

In the four weeks ending 25 April 2015, Lidl again spent the most on TV and press advertising (£5.2 million³) – 31% more than the same period last year – just ahead of Tesco (£4.5 million).

Iceland again increased spend the most – up 102% to £0.6 million – followed by Marks & Spencer (up 76% to £2.3 million).

Watkins concludes: “If deflation continues, we anticipate volumes increasing over the summer as people channel savings made into affordable indulgences from the supermarket, not just on food consumed out of the home.”   

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

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.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

More information

Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
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Neil Beston
PR Director, UK & Europe
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