UK consumers rush to book supermarket slots following lockdown announcement
UK consumers rushed to booked supermarket slots following the announcement of the third UK lockdown last night (4 January), with the surge in demand causing some problems and queues at some of the UK retailers.
According to reports on social media, and reported by the BBC, the Sainsbury’s grocery app and website was unavailable yesterday evening within 45 minutes of the lockdown being announced and Ocado instituted a virtual queuing system, which had more than 5,300 people in the queue at one stage. Consumers were also reporting problems completing orders with Tesco online, although a Tesco spokesman said there had been no reports from its technical team of any problems with the website. The UK’s largest retailer had previously said it has doubled capacity for online delivery and click and collect since the onset of the first lockdown last March, and how has more than 1.5m slots a week.
Morrisons reported increased demand, but said slot availability remained “good”.
According to the latest figures from Kantar, published this morning, online grocery sales accounted for 12.6% of the total grocery spend in December, up from 7.4% in 2019, with demand for online slots peaking on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 December. It also noted that online specialits Ocado ended the year as the country’s fastest growing retailer, with sales over the past 12 weeks rising by 36.5%, despite selling to less than 3% of UK households.
Overall grocery sales rose 11.4% in the 12 weeks to 27 December, with supermarket sales of alcohol up by £310 million in the UK over Christmas, as the pre-Christmas tier systems limited people from drinking in pubs, bars and restaurants.
Tesco saw sales up 11.1% in the 12 weeks, on the back of its premium own labelTesco Finest, while Sainsbury’s saw sales up 10.7% year-on-year ahead of Asda at 7.8%. Morrisons saw sales up 13.1% on last year’s figure, boosting its market share by 0.1 percentage points to 10.4%, its highest level since June 2019.
Meanshile discounter Lidl gained 0.2 percentage points on sales up 15.2% while Waitrose’s total sales rose by 11.7%, ahead of The Co-op, up 9.8% and Aldi, 6.3%.