Non-food consumers flock to supermarkets

Shoppers are increasingly turning to supermarkets to buy non-food itmes, intensifying the competition on traditional specialist retailers, according to research unveiled by Verdict Research Consulting.

Shoppers are increasingly turning to supermarkets to buy non-food items, intensifying the competition on traditional specialist retailers, according to research unveiled by Verdict Research Consulting.

It says 62% of all shoppers regularly use supermarkets to buy such items, a sharp increase on the 45% recorded five years ago.

Supermarkets now account for an 11%, or £19.7bn, share of the £177bn UK non-food market.

Verdict says the dramatic growth is intensifying the competition placed on traditional specialist retailers, whose market share is continually dropping.

Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders says: “Almost everyone has to go grocery shopping and that means the grocers have a huge base of customers who regularly visit their stores, which is an enormous advantage because it allows them to easily put non-food ranges in front of those customers.”

Asda is now the UK’s fifth largest clothing retailer while rival Tesco is ninth. Both have more regular clothing customers than high street brands including BHS, Gap and H&M.

Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons have larger market shares in personal care that beauty specialist Superdrug.

However, while the supermarkets’ dominance is creating pressure for other retailers it has resulted in a better deal for the customer, according to Saunders.

“The increase in competition in the market has helped keep prices down across the board. In the case of non-food, the grocers have acted as consumer champions,” he says.

The research company predicts the growth of the internet as a sales channel can “only increase” the supermarkets’ market share of non-food, particularly because of their existing delivery networks.

Verdict predicts sales of non-food in grocers could be worth £24.4bn by 2012.

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