Easter during lockdown in the UK grocery market

By Tim Dummer


As we entered the Easter period, we waited to see how shoppers would react to these challenging times. We expected the shopping restrictions put in place to maybe have a negative impact with bricks and mortar retailers limiting access and On-line at capacity.

Whilst we did see week on week growth at a total market level, the Easter week did decline versus last year.

With Easter 2020 coming slightly earlier than the previous year, when we align the periods for a direct comparison, we see that this year Easter fell short of 2019 by only £51m.

As a result of the stay at home message, we have seen Shoppers reducing their frequency of shopping trips. However, when they do venture out to shop, they are spending more across a large part of the FMCG market.

The main categories that increased were Beers, Wines and Spirits (but mainly Lager), with Fresh Meat also doing well as we continued to enjoy the Easter holiday and entertain ourselves – albeit in family isolation.

There were two category casualties that saw a negative impact: Easter Confectionery and Seasonal Cakes, with both seeing greatly reduced spend. Compared with 2019, the Easter Confectionery category alone declined by £84.4million in the 7 weeks up to and including Easter week.

Similar to the Christmas period, we cannot look at one weeks performance for Easter and so the next few weeks will really show if performance holds up – watch this space!

At a macro level, we are starting to see what the early signs of a move towards lower value items as contrary to longer term trends could be, basket size grows ahead of spend.

Overall, the decline continues to be driven by the constraints imposed by social distancing with fewer trips to supermarket being made, despite the baskets being bigger each time.



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