Press Room

European grocery market grows at lowest level on record

London, 17 August 2016. The amount consumers across Europe spent on everyday items, such as food, drinks and toiletries, rose by the lowest level on record, according to Nielsen retail performance data released today.

In the second quarter of 2016, prices paid for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) rose just 0.7% year-on-year, whilst volumes rose 0.1% the lowest level for over two years. Consequently, grocery retailers saw a 0.8% increase in takings at the till – the lowest ever figure since measurement began in the final quarter of 2008.

Across the 21 European countries measured, Turkey had the highest growth in takings at the tills (+8.9%), followed by Norway (+3.5%) and Sweden (+3.2%). At the other end of the scale, the biggest declines were in Greece (-7.2%) and Finland (-4.6%).

Of the big five western European markets, Spain (+2.1%) had the highest growth, followed by Italy (+1.2%). The UK had its worst performance for nearly two years (-1.6%), having the lowest growth among this group and the third lowest among all 21 countries.

“The historically low performance across Europe is driven by two factors,” says Nielsen’s European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede.

“The negative effect of Easter not occurring in Q2 this year but doing so last year, however, more significantly, the very low growth in France and Germany and the noticeable decline in the UK which is being driven by fierce price competition among the retailers. Southern Europe was often to blame for Europe’s poor performance but it’s currently doing quite well whilst northern Europe is today’s problem child.”

– ENDS –


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.