Britons have spent £15.2 billion more on groceries during the pandemic as lockdowns and restrictions over the past year have forced the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants, new figures show.
Kantar grocery data revealed each household has spent around £4,800 in supermarkets over the past 12 months since the coronavirus crisis struck – £500 more than in normal times.
Supermarkets have seen trade boom amid the pandemic as they have been allowed to remain open, where other non-essential retailers and hospitality have been forced to close for the majority of the past year due to the crisis.
The figures reveal supermarket sales rose by 12.5% in the 12 weeks to February 21 and growth ramped up to 15.1% over the past month in the fastest rate since June 2020.
Tesco emerged as one of the winners of the quarter, notching up its first market share growth since December 2016 – at 27.4% up from 27.3% a year ago as its sales rose 13.2%.
The data revealed online grocery sales reached another new record share in the four weeks to February 21, accounting for 15.4% of sales, up from 8.7% last year, according to Kantar.
It said nearly a quarter of households bought groceries online during the past month as many customers have switched to shopping from home.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The pandemic has now been making its mark on our lives and completely changing the way we shop for a full year.
“Various hospitality restrictions mean that we’ve eaten an extra seven billion meals at home since spring 2020.
“Office tea rounds, meanwhile, were replaced by brews in our own kitchens and we drank an additional two billion cups of tea in the house this year.”
But he added grocery chains will start to see a drop-off in year-on-year sales growth rates following the anniversary of the first national lockdown next month.
He said: “Sales will be measured against last year’s record spending and comparisons will be tough against the heights of 2020.
“Demand for groceries is also likely to subside as the hospitality sector reopens.”
The figures showed Britons made the most of last month’s Valentine’s Day and Shrove Tuesday celebrations despite lockdown.
It found 3.8 million households bought boxes of chocolates in the week running up to February 14 – a rise of 18% – while pancake day drove a 50% jump in sales of flour and chocolate spreads and an 86% surge for syrups.
The market share data showed that Tesco was joined by Big Four rival Morrisons in enjoying a bumper past quarter, with its sales up 13.9% and market share increasing to 10.3% from 10.2% a year earlier.
Sainsbury’s notched up 12.1% growth and held its share firm at 15.6%, but Asda was the weakest of the major chains with its share falling to 14.8% from 15.1% year-on-year despite sales growth of 10.3%.
Iceland’s market share increased by 0.3 percentage points to 2.5% and its sales rose by 23.9%.
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