Consumers are increasingly spending on premium supermarket own-label ranges over Christmas as they look to trade up and “treat loved ones” over the festive season.
Figures from Kantar Worldpanel show spend on premium brands was up 13% year on year in the 12 weeks to 4 December. That is against a backdrop of slowing growth across the industry, with overall sales up by just 0.7%.
Some 88% of shoppers are now buying from the top tier of supermarket’s private labels and premium ranges can be found in 12% of shopping trips. Overall, premium lines accounted for 6.3% of own-label purchases, up from 5.7% last year.
The supermarkets are well aware that consumers tend to trade up over Christmas and many have focused their marketing on a message of quality or pushing their premium ranges. Lidl, for example, is talking up the quality of its turkeys while Morrisons has pushed its ‘The Best’ range.
Aldi in particular has benefitted from its focus on premium, with its ‘Specially Selected’ brand helping it record a 10% year-on-year sales increase, the only grocer to see double-digit sales growth. Morrisons’ The Best range also saw a boost, with sales up by 35%, as did Asda’s ‘Extra Special’ range which grew by 35%.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, says: “Over Christmas it’s likely that premium lines will record their highest ever sales figures as even more shoppers trade up to treat their loved ones.”
Iceland was the second fastest-growing grocer, with sales up 8.6%, again boosted by its move upmarket. Lidl, the Co-op and Waitrose also sales increases over the 12-week period.
Of the big four supermarkets, Tesco was once again the best performing, with sales up 1.6%. All the others saw their sales fall, with Asda the worst performing again, although its decline has slowed marginally.
Grocers remain cheaper than last year, although only by 0.1%. And some categories, such as fresh fish and beer, are seeing prices rise. Promotional activity was also down compared to a year ago, accounting for 36.9% of spending compared to 40% a year ago.
“This reflects ongoing efforts [among the five biggest supermarkets] to simplify shopping and offer more of an everyday low pricing model, which relies far less heavily on promotions,” says McKevitt.