M&S will win the grocery premiumisation war this Christmas as 10.9% of shoppers switch supermarket for the festive season

Grocery Basket

In the UK, 10.9% of shoppers will switch their major grocer for the Christmas period, centrally driven by a desire for premium foods over the holidays and the pursuit of a wider range of goods, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Despite the difficulties faced by the premium grocers throughout 2018, M&S can expect the greatest addition to its footfall during the holiday season, with the percentage of consumers who use it for the majority of their food shop rising to 3.8% for this Christmas, compared to 2.1% for the rest of the year.

Thomas Brereton, Retail Analyst for GlobalData commented: “Given that 27.8% of all food & grocery expenditure will fall into Q4 this year, the festive period represents a good opportunity for the 2018 laggards to play catch up and help stem the flow of market share in the direction of the discounters.”

As expected, because of their ‘one-stop shop’ offer, the percentage of regular Big 4 shoppers switching away is lower than the rest of the retailers in the grocery market (9.4% vs 10.9%). Morrisons will have the lowest percentage of switchers of the Big 4, giving testament to its store refreshment in 2018 and the launch of ‘The Best’ Christmas range, which will likely prove an inconvenient nuisance for Tesco’s Finest and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference products lines.


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Brereton continues, “Although not unexpected, it will send a comforting message to M&S CEO Steve Rowe that his transformational plan to ‘Making M&S Special Again’ is feasible, as shoppers still consider M&S the ‘go to’ premium grocer. This contrasts main rival Waitrose whom, despite the expectation of a marginal increase in shopper numbers, will struggle to turn around its misfortunes in 2018 – weekly sales, excluding fuel, have fallen an average of 1.0% year-on-year since the start of September.
“As well as M&S and Waitrose, Iceland can also expect a boost this Christmas, with the frozen specialist feeling the positive impact of its eco-friendly ambitions resonating with shoppers and benefitting from the extensive press coverage of its banned but memorable orangutan advert.”

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