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FMCG volume growths across Europe hit 6-year high

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London, 19 May 2015. The volume of FMCG products – such as soft drinks, toiletries and food – purchased across Europe has risen by its highest year-on-year level since Nielsen started measuring it more than six years ago – according to the latest data released today by the global information and insights company.

In the first quarter of 2015, FMCG sales volume across Europe increased 2.4%. The growth in volumes was accompanied by a 1.8% rise in prices paid. Consequently, takings at the tills increased by 4.2% – the highest level for three years (since Q1 2012, 4.7%).

“Four years of predominantly falling prices have finally delivered some good news to Europe’s somewhat beleaguered grocery retailers in the form of record increases in volumes,” says Nielsen’s European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede. “Although the huge growth in Turkey has played a significant part, grocery retailers will also be relieved to see price inflation, across the continent, rising for the first time after five straight quarters of decline.”

In Q1, Turkey continued to experience, by far, the highest nominal year-on-year sales growth (+19.9%) among the 21 European countries measured, followed by Hungary (+4.9%) and Sweden (+4.2%).

Greece (-3.0%) had the largest decline in nominal growth, followed by Finland (-1.9%) and Ireland (-0.5%).­

Of the big five western European markets, Germany (+2.8%) had the highest nominal growth, while the UK was the only one to experience a decline (-0.2%). 

Value changes
Turkey (10.2%) was the only one of the 21 European countries measured to experience price rises above 3.0%; only a further three (Austria, Netherlands and Hungary) saw prices rise above the 21-country average (1.8%). Four suffered price deflation.

Volume changes
Turkey (9.7%) and Norway (3.2%) saw the largest increase in sales volume. Greece (-2.8%) and Ireland (-2.3%) had the largest declines in sales volume.

Vandenheede concludes: “Rising volumes and an upward change in price inflation show things are moving in the right direction for retailers across the region.  While one of the three engines of European growth – the UK – suffered a third consecutive quarter of negative growth, the other two – France and Germany – have now had a couple of encouraging quarters.”


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 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

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