Inflation, confidence, streaming ads: 5 interesting stats to start your week

We arm you with all the numbers you need to tackle the week ahead.

Grocery inflation returns to ‘more normal’ levels

Grocery price inflation fell to 2.4% in the four weeks to 12 May, marking its lowest level since October 2021, a “more normal” rate. This is the fifteenth consecutive month of grocery price inflation falling, it is now just 0.8 percentage points higher than the 10-year average of 1.6% between 2012 and 2021.

As the rate of inflation slows, shoppers ordinarily move away from inflationary behaviours like trading down; however, as the continued success of the discounters shows, these behaviours remain sticky.

“After nearly two and a half years of rapidly rising prices, it could take a bit longer for shoppers to unwind the habits they have learnt to help them manage the cost of living crisis,” says Kantar head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt.

“Own-label lines are proving resilient, for example, and they are still growing faster than brands, making up over half (52%) of total spending. Sales of premium own label ranges also continue to increase, up by 9.9% compared with a year ago.”

While cost of living-related behaviours remain persistent, overall take-home grocery sales rose by 2.9% over the four weeks to 12 May, with Kantar suggesting the early May bank holiday bolstered sales.

Over the summer, sporting fixtures have the potential to further drive sales, particularly in categories like alcohol, McKevitt says.

“During England’s quarter-final match against France in the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, take-home beer sales hit their biggest daily takings of the year outside of Christmas. Especially if it’s paired with warmer temperatures, this year’s summer of sport could deliver a welcome boost for the sector,” he says.

Source: Kantar

Hospitality suffers as wet weather dampens sales in April

Sales among Britain’s top hospitality groups dropped by 1.7% in April compared to the same month last year, with wet weather blamed for the decline.

It is considerably lower than the 5.2% growth achieved in March, which was buoyed by warmer weather and an early Easter, and the first year-on-year drop since September 2022.

Sales in pubs were down 1.5% in April, while bars were hit hardest with a 15.1% drop in sales compared to 2023. Restaurants fared better, but still only achieved modest growth of 1.2%. The on-the-go segment was down 4.2%.

Geographically, London performed better, with sales inside the M25 up 0.3% on last year, while outside sales dropped by 2.2%.

Karl Chessell, director, CGA by NIQ, says: “After 18 consecutive months of year-on-year growth, the hospitality sector had a challenging April. It’s a reminder of the very close correlation between the weather and sales, and a sign that some consumers have been saving their eating and drinking out for special occasions and holidays like Easter.

Source: CGA by NIQ and RSM UK 

Maximum of five minutes of ads accepted by most consumers on streaming services

With an increasing number of ad-funded streaming TV subscriptions being rolled out, research reveals the maximum time the majority of people feel prepared to accept is less than five minutes per hour.

A third of consumers (32%) say the maximum time they would feel comfortable seeing ads on streaming services is two minutes per hour, while a fifth (21%) would be happy with three to five minutes per hour.

Less than one in 10 (9%) would accept six to 10 minutes an hour, and just 2% of consumers would be happy with 16 to 20 minutes, with another 2% saying they’d be OK with more than 20 minutes of ads per hour.

Nearly a fifth (18%) are adamant they want no ads when streaming, suggesting they wouldn’t opt for an ad-supported tier at all.

Source: YouGov

Consumer confidence inches upward

Consumer confidence has increased for a second consecutive month, making for a “brighter picture” after a “long period of stasis”, according to the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer.

The overall index score increased two points to –17, driven by a jump in four of the five measures compared to last month. Since May last year, consumer confidence has vastly improved, increasing 10 points from –27.

The May data was collected from consumers prior to news of the upcoming election and the current rate of inflation, which last week (22 May) fell to 2.3%, marking its lowest level in almost three years.

People are feeling more optimistic about their own personal financial situation over the last 12 months, which is up one point to –10.

The forecast for personal finances for the upcoming 12 months is up five points to 7, which is a vast improvement on the -40 recorded in September 2022.

Confidence in the general economic situation over the last 12 months is up two points to –39, and expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have increased by four points to –17.

Source: GfK

TV most popular device for watching video content


TVs and smartphones are the top two devices used to watch video content, but the level of use is slightly different in Europe compared to the US.

Across the 11 European markets surveyed, 76% of people say they watch video content on TV daily, while smartphones rank second in popularity at 64%.

In the US, while a similar percentage (74%) watch videos on TV daily, smartphones come in joint first place (also 74%).

PCs and notebooks are third for both European and US viewers, although slightly more use them in the United States (50%) versus Europe (41%).

Tablets are also more popular in the US (46%) compared to Europe (31%).

Linear TV is still watched at least once per week by Americans (68%) and those in Europe (69%).

Streaming is more popular in the US, with US viewers more likely to watch subscription based video-on-demand (77% versus 68% of Europeans) and short-form videos online (72% versus 55% of Europeans) at least once a week.

US consumers are also more likely to watch ad-funded streaming content (62%) versus a quarter of Europeans.

Source: RTL AdAlliance