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The grocery market in the UK is becoming increasingly competitive, with supermarkets vying for a larger slice of the pie. According to forecasts, the ‘big four’ (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrisons) will lose UK Supermarket market share over the next five years, while Aldi and Lidl will continue to grow. This presents an opportunity for new entrants into the market, as well as for existing players to expand their reach. So, what will the grocery landscape look like in 2022? And who will come out on top? Read on to find out.
Driven by their status as ‘essential stores’ and the growth of online grocery shopping, supermarkets saw an uptick over the pandemic. According to a report by Savills, the market grew by 8.4% in 2020, increasing the total market spend by £13 billion in one year and it continued to grow by another 0.3% in 2021.
However, since the end of the national lockdowns, grocery sales have declined. UK supermarket shares 2022 dipped below the sales volume of 2020 for the first time. The recent increase in inflation rates and the cost of living has led to consumers spending less on groceries, and recent trends have revealed that consumers have switched to purchasing own-brand products.
To add to this difficult period for the supermarket industry, supply chain issues have recently hit supermarkets. Brought on by Covid, Brexit-linked labour shortages, shipping issues, and rising energy costs, Savills report that nearly 40% of consumers have noticed a shortage of products and 30% of supermarkets say that they have not bought a replacement for the product they could not source.
However, one area where our UK insight tracking has seen an increase in sales volumes for UK supermarkets, is alcohol, confectionery, and tobacco. ONS suggests that this could mark a new upward trend for the supermarket industry, as it is a sign of consumers choosing to stay home. Could this signal the end of the period of decline seen over the past two years?
Over the course of the pandemic, Tesco retained its hold on the most significant grocery market share, losing just under 1% of its market share since 2017. Tesco’s UK supermarket 2022 share was recorded at 27.3% in the last month. Tesco’s long-term partnerships with suppliers has likely aided in their resilience to supply chain issues, and their market focus on quality and value has proved successful even with the competition of the discount supermarket industry. This is partially thanks to their ‘Aldi Price Match’ range, where they promise Tesco-quality products at discount supermarket prices, allowing them to retain their customer base. Their Clubcard initiative also plays a significant part in their success, rewarding regular customers.
Sainsbury’s, the second most significant chain of the ‘big four’, has profited from a similar ‘Aldi Price Match’ range. Although Sainsbury’s lost 0.6% of its grocery market share in 2022, its market focus on sustainability, high-quality products and low prices has meant that its losses have been much less significant than those of its competitors. Their UK supermarket market share 2022 remains incredibly high at 15%.
Asda was one of the worst-hit supermarkets during the pandemic, dropping a whole 1% of its share of the market, leaving its UK supermarket share 2022 at just 14.1%. Its focus on affordability may have led to greater competition with discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl.
Morrisons also lost 0.7% of its grocery market share, leaving its UK supermarket market share in 2022 now at 9.5%. Its market focus is on competitive prices, convenience and fresh food. Likely one of the greatest disadvantages to Morrisons and Asda has been their lack of smaller stores such as Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express, which provided convenient and safer shopping to customers during the pandemic.
All ‘big four’ supermarkets are facing competition from the German discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl. Undoubtedly, the pandemic and the rising costs of living have driven the growth of cheaper supermarkets, meaning that each saw a significant increase in its market share. These two discount supermarkets have also dived into household consumer electronics helping boost their market share, with their UK supermarket market share 2022 now at 6.6% and 8.8% respectively.
Both brands remained the fastest growing in terms of new stores in 2021, with 53 and 42 new stores respectively. Both intend to acquire 50 new stores each per year for the next three years, responding to the increasing demand for discount grocery stores.
As the population were encouraged to stay at home during 2022/2021, the online food and grocery market grew dramatically throughout the pandemic. According to Savills, in 2020 alone, online sales in the grocery market grew by 76.3% to represent a market value of over £20 billion and continued to grow in 2021 by more than 20%.
This growth is expected to slow, the convenience of online sales developed during the pandemic and continues to appeal to a wide range of shoppers.
Partnerships between large supermarkets and rapid delivery companies also continues to be an emerging trend. For example, Tesco and Gorillas, as well as Tesco’s subsidiary, OneStop, and Deliveroo. Aldi has similarly partnered with Deliveroo, expanding the potential for discount supermarkets whilst Morrisons have been partnered with Amazon for some time, allowing delivery within a few hours.
Deliveroo and UberEats mostly use bicycle or motorbike delivery, which is a favourable choice for improving the sustainability of each delivery. However, this could prove logistically problematic, as weight limits for two-wheel vehicles restrict the number of goods possible to deliver.
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