The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar for the period ending 5th September 2021 show like-for-like grocery prices rose by 1.3% in the past four weeks compared to last year. 

According to Kantar, grocery sales fell year on year by 1.9% during the 12 weeks to 5th September 2021. Sales remain 8.7% higher than pre-Covid levels, reflecting that the impact of the pandemic is still being felt on the market. 

With people returning en masse to offices and schools in September, shopping habits are expected to change. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “In the first week of September we measured the highest supermarket footfall all year outside of the Easter period with more people out and about picking up items as they go. That suggests a hint of change, and could see shoppers shun the ‘big shop’ in favour of more frequent top up buying.”

McKevitt added: “But we shouldn’t expect to shift from habits learned in lockdown straight back to pre-Covid patterns overnight. It’s most likely that the needle will settle somewhere in between.”

The figures suggested that the move away from large shops is already evident online, with average online baskets now £17 smaller than they were in the first lockdown.

Kantar have also reported an increase in retail prices, with consumers paying more for their shopping as in-store promotions hit record lows.

McKevitt said: “For much of 2021 shoppers have been shielded from price increases, with more being sold on promotion this year compared to 2020.  But in the past month only 27.5% of spending was done on deals.  Other than the early days of lockdown last year, that is the lowest level recorded in the 15 years which we have tracked this data, with retailers aiming to offer everyday low prices instead.”

With spend up by 2.2% in the past 12 weeks, Waitrose was the fastest growing supermarket for the second month in a row.  As a result, Waitrose’s market share increased to 5.1%, a fifth consecutive increase which makes this its best run since September 2015.

Tesco was the only other grocer to increase sales value year on year, up 0.2% on 2020.  Performing better than the overall market meant Tesco also won share, gaining 0.5 percentage points to account for 27.3% of all sales.