The amount Europeans paid for everyday groceries (on the widest possible basket of product categories that are continuously tracked by Nielsen) increased by 2.4% in the first quarter of 2019, on par with the growth of 2.5% in fourth-quarter 2018. These are the results of the latest Nielsen Growth Reporter which compares overall market dynamics (value and unit growth) in the FMCG sector across Europe. It is based on the sales measurement that Nielsen performs in 21 European markets, and covers sales in grocery, hypermarket, supermarket, discount and convenience channels. It’s based on the widest possible basket of product categories that are continuously measured by Nielsen in each of these countries and channels.
After the sharp slowdown of the economy witnessed across European countries in the second half of 2018, present marcoeconomic indicators suggest economic pickup with the Eurozone GDP for the first quarter of 2019 at +1.2%. Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) uptake by consumers is at stable levels compared to last quarter of 2018, given that this quarter’s FMCG nominal growth level was +2.8% compared to the moving annual total (MAT) of the previous year. The volume growth in the first quarter 2019, however, was -0.5%, following a similar pattern from fourth-quarter 2018 (-0.3%).
In most European markets there is a marked effect in FMCG purchasing by consumers due to inflation (up by 1.7%) and price increases leading to consumers’ FMCG buying impacted by 0.5% lesser percentage of items purchased and consumers paying 2.9% more per item than they did in the same quarter compared to the previous year.
How different countries compare
Turkey continues to show the highest year-on-year growth in takings at the tills (+20%), contributed due to inflation, however there is a decline in volume growth which is at negative growth levels (-5%) in Q1 2019. Other countries that have recorded high growth numbers are Hungary, Greece, Poland, Netherlands and Slovakia (+6.6%, +4.9%, +4.3%, +4.3% and +3.6% respectively). On the other hand Ireland (-1.2%) had the smallest growth. Switzerland ranked 16th of the 28 countries.
Spain with the highest growth rate (+3.6%) among the big five Western European markets, followed by France and U.K. (2.1% and 1% respectively), while Italy and Germany had the negative growth among this group at sub-zero growth levels (-0.3% and -0.9%, respectively).
In comparison to the European average, the prices paid in Switzerland rose 1.3%, while volumes fell -0.4%, meaning spending on total grocery (FMCG) rose 1%.