Convenience stores have experienced a 9% growth in online sales, accounting for a 30% share in the overall market, according to new figures analysing coronavirus shopping trends from Nielsen. 

Its newly-published Total Till data, which includes the past four weeks ending 18 April, showed that more than 6.8 million consumers shopped for groceries online, with almost one in three being new shoppers. 

The total share of all grocery sales made online has now reached 10%, a rise from 7.5% at the end of 2019. 

Head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins praised retailers for their ability to adapt quickly to meet new, growing demand. 

Coronavirus: average basket spend breaks £10 barrier

“Retailers have increased online capacity significantly in the past few weeks,” he said. “This has been done by increasing the number of delivery slots while prioritising the more vulnerable and improving order sizes, so shoppers can minimise the frequency of shopping.”

In the same week, grocery research company KAM Media estimated that 24% of UK customers are now using delivery apps on a weekly basis, compared with 7% before the crisis. 

Nielsen added that online sales of beers, wines and spirits had experienced a 78% sales boost, while in-store purchases of the category saw a 6.5% increase. It also reported growth in shelf stable foods (17.6%) and frozen foods (13.5%). 

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However, sales in confectionery reportedly dropped by 20%, and delicatessen by 21%, following counter closures while retailers focused resources elsewhere. 

More recently, The Retail Data Partnership revealed that soft drinks continued to be the most popular basket category last week, in its latest report looking at the impact of the coronavirus on convenience stores. 

Soft drinks were found in 31% of baskets, followed by groceries (25.66%), chilled (22.85%), and alcohol (20.52%).

Coronavirus sales trends in convenience stores revealed

Data company Kantar reported that hygiene and health products had also seen an uptick, with hand sanitiser sales increasing by 255% in February, while sales of liquid soaps rose by 7% and household cleaners by 10%. 

Nielsen said the percentage of shoppers purchasing products on promotion had fallen to an all-time low of 16%, down from last year’s average of 26%, supporting retailer claims of a drop in available offers. 

Over the past 12 weeks, supermarket sales have grown by 0.7%, according to Kantar’s latest figures. Tesco and Asda reported a dip in sales of 0.8% and 1.2%, respectively, whereas sales at Co-op increased by 2.5% year on year, with its market share growing to 6%.

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