Britons delay Christmas shopping as grocery price inflation hits a record 14.7%
UK consumers are delaying their Christmas shopping as UK grocery price inflation hits a new high, new research shows.
According to the latest data from research firm Kantar, four-week food price inflation hit 14.7%, the highest level since the company started recording data in 2008.
The company said take-out grocery sales rose 5.2% in the 12 weeks to Oct. 30, 2022, the fastest market growth rate since April 2021.
Under increased financial pressure, fewer people filled the cupboards for Christmas in October, preferring to wait until later in the year.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar, said: “At this time last year, 2 million consumers had already purchased their festive Christmas pudding. We saw 32% of Fewer shoppers are doing so this time around, suggesting that people aren’t trying to spread the cost of their purchases, at least not in October.”
It comes after the Bank of England – the UK’s central bank – raised its base interest rate to 3%, the highest in 14 years, and said further hikes may be needed to rein in galloping inflation.
The bank also said the UK could be on course for the longest recession since reliable records began in the 1920s.
The country’s GDP could shrink every quarter for two years, with growth not returning until mid-2024.
No peak in sight
According to Kantar, record grocery inflation could increase further.
McKevitt said, “Once again, we have a new record high for grocery price inflation and it’s too early to call the top yet.”
He said the new inflation figure means consumers face a £682 ($781) increase in their annual grocery bill if they keep buying the same items.
According to the survey, 27% of all UK households said they were in financial difficulty, double the proportion recorded last November.
“Nine in 10 of this group say rising food and drink prices are a top concern, second only to energy bills, so it’s clear how much food inflation is hitting people’s wallets and adds to their domestic worries,” McKevitt said.
But he expects sales to be boosted by the FIFA Men’s World Cup, which kicks off on November 20.
For the first time in almost 25 years, two British teams, England and Wales, will take part in the World Cup final, which “should generate a lot of excitement and could boost sales at the tills”. , McKevitt said.
PA Media contributed to this report.