These are times of change for major grocery retailers. Upper-midmarket Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are outperforming, despite the squeeze on incomes; Aldi and Lidl are soaring on the back of store openings, more premium products and (in Aldi’s case) heavy advertising; Tesco has scaled back hypermarket openings and has been pouring money into store refits and opening smaller Express stores.

Tesco’s move away from new hypermarket openings is largely in response to structural changes in the sector: migration of some non-food shopping and some grocery shopping online is raising challenges for large out-of-town stores.

The online, discount and convenience channels are growing faster than the total market, and this report addresses these structural changes in the sector:

  • Our consumer research asked shoppers what type of stores they buy groceries from and whether they use these stores more or less than a year ago. As usual, we also asked consumers which retailers they buy from.

  • Our Sector Size and Forecast includes segmented forecasts for the convenience channel and the supermarkets channel (including online).

  • Our Online section provides a market size and forecast for internet grocery shopping.

  • Additionally, we asked shoppers what general merchandise categories they had bought from grocery retailers and whether this was online or instore; we asked what services they had bought or would consider buying from grocers; and we asked about attitudes to buying non-grocery products from grocery retailers.

  • Our Issues and Insights section considers the scale and implications of online grocery shopping, whether consumers are moving away from out-of-town stores, the growth of the convenience and discount channels and how important general merchandise is for the grocery sector.



Data in this report includes:

  • Consumer spending data, sourced from the ONS and IRI.

  • Retail sales data adapted from ONS data for the sector “non-specialised food stores”.

  • Proprietary Mintel market sizes for the convenience stores sector and the online grocery market.

All consumer spending and retail sales data in the UK report is quoted including VAT.

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

Financial definitions

Financial definitions used are:

  • Sales: Turnover as reported by the company, excluding VAT.

  • Operating profits: pre-tax profits plus interest, less non-trading income such as the sale of fixed assets and any exceptional items, including provisions.

  • Pre-tax profits: the net trading profit after deducting all operating costs including depreciation and finance charges, but before deduction of tax, dividends and other appropriations.

  • Operating margin: operating profits as a percentage of sales.

  • Pre-tax margin: pre-tax profits as a percentage of sales.


ACORN A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods
CAGR Compound Annual Growth Rate
CPI Consumer Price Index
e Mintel Estimate
f Forecast
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GM General Merchandise (such as electricals and clothing)
M&S Marks & Spencer
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