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Research: Most market share growth, thanks to the pull of private labels

Updated: Feb 1

The shopping basket has never been more expensive than in 2023: Spaniards spent a total of 117 billion euros on basic goods for daily use (food, beverages, drugstores and perfumery) last year, 10% more than in 2022, when it had already broken a record, according to data from the consulting firm NielsenIQ. The increase is due to prices, which have been rising considerably for two years (by 9.4% on average in 2023). Thus, a purchase of 100 euros from 2019 now exceeds 126 euros. Mercadona, Lidl and Consum are the three supermarket chains that have gained the most.

Despite price pressure, which caused a drop in volume demand in the first months of 2023, demand finally closed the year up 0.9%. In 2022, it fell by 0.7%. Last year saw a shift in the consumption of olive oil, whose price has been skyrocketing for two years, to other rates. And the price of fresh fish continues to fall, by 4.2%. And vegetables grow by only 0.4%. Although, as a whole, fresh produce regained momentum last year, with demand up 1.5%, after falling in 2022. The price helped: although fresh products became 7.2% more expensive, the increase is lower than that of packaged products, which increased by 10.3%.

"We see a slight moderation, although accumulated inflation is still putting pressure on consumers' pockets," explained Ignacio Biedma, one of the authors of the Consumer Trends 2023 report, presented on Thursday. Regarding distribution margins, the firm's managing director for southern Europe, Patricia Daimiel, said that margins are very small, around 2%, and said that they have not detected that "companies have taken advantage of the situation to expand them". The expert warned that there are still elements that can put pressure on prices, such as drought, problems in the Middle East, with disruptions to trade due to the conflict in the Red Sea, and the war in Ukraine.

Mercadona (27.6%, up 0.6 points), Lidl (6.1%, up 0.2) and Consum (3.7%, up 0.2) are the three supermarket chains that gained the most market share. Meanwhile, Dia and Carrefour lost share, the former lost -0.4 (market share 4.8%) and the French group -0.1 (market share 7.5%).

Good private label management is key for companies, according to NielsenIQ experts. These brands continued to grow last year and now account for half of the expenditure in the shopping basket, specifically 48%, two points more than the previous year. The greatest weight corresponds to drugstore and cleaning. Two out of ten baskets are made up exclusively of private labels.

Price hikes have prompted consumers to adopt strategies to manage their spending. 93% have modified their purchasing behaviour to control expenses, especially buying private labels, looking for promotions, among others. Households go shopping 8% more often because they put fewer items in the basket (6.5% less). That is, smaller baskets and more frequent purchases. "In the last two years, we have seen how the large cargo baskets have been reduced, which are for weeks, but also the number of households that make this type of purchase has also decreased, 1.5 less," said Ricardo Alcon, another Nielsen expert.

Supermarkets and perfumeries are the winning formats of 2023, where sales have risen the most in value: 12% for the former and 18% for the latter.


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