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UK Grocery Inflation Eases to 18-Month Low

Analyst Team trader
Updated 21 May 2024

There has been a recent deceleration in UK grocery price inflation, delivering a measure of reprieve to consumers. As of the latest figures, supermarket prices have risen by 2.4% compared to the same period last year. This marks the lowest increase since October 2021 and a continual slowdown for the fifteenth consecutive month from April's high of 3.2%.

Despite ongoing financial pressures, supermarkets are witnessing a resilient performance in their own-label product lines, which are now accounting for more than half (52%) of total consumer spending. Not only are shoppers opting for these more cost-effective alternatives, but they're also showing a growing preference for premium own-label ranges. Sales of such products have surged by 9.9% in comparison to the previous year.

Market analysts, specialising in retail and consumer insight, has observed a correlation between consumer buying habits and inflation rates. Data suggests that as inflation surpasses the 3% threshold, consumers demonstrate an increased tendency to trade down to more budget-friendly items. This shopper behavior has likely contributed to the growth in demand for supermarket own-label brands.

Remarkably, the recent early May bank holiday weekend saw a sharp rise in particular food and beverage categories, indicative of the nation’s determination to enjoy seasonal festivities despite the tight economic climate. Burger sales leaped by 13%, while beverages such as beer and wine enjoyed significant boosts, with sales climbing by 9% and 21%, respectively, compared to the preceding week.


In the backdrop of these consumer trends, certain grocery retailers have seized the opportunity to expand their market presence. Ocado emerged as the fastest-growing grocer in the 12-week period leading up to May 12, charting a substantial 12.4% increment in sales. Lidl, not far behind in capturing consumer attention, achieved a new record-high market share of 8.1%, propelled by popular features such as its bakery counters and a loyalty scheme that resonates well with shoppers.

The UK's grocery market landscape continues to be dominated by Tesco, which holds a significant 27.6% market share alongside a 5.6% growth in sales. Sainsbury's also maintains a strong position, commanding 15.1% of the market. It's clear that despite economic uncertainty, some retailers are finding ways to thrive by aligning with evolving consumer preferences and making strategic investments in areas that drive growth and customer loyalty.

The latest figures point towards a notable slowdown in grocery price inflation, a trend that may bring some relief to consumers and influence their spending patterns. Supermarkets are adapting by enhancing their own-label offerings, with both value and premium lines gaining traction. As households navigate the complexities of the current economic environment, their shopping behaviors will continue to shape the competitive dynamics of the grocery industry.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.