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With 70% antibody coverage and an upcoming heatwave, supermarkets are in pole position to thrive this summer

Take-home grocery sales in the UK rose 5.7% in the 12 weeks to 18 April, new data from Kantar has shown, with the research firm noting that consumer confidence appears to be increasing amidst a relaxation of social restrictions. With buoyancy returning to in-store grocery, the industry is looking forward to a summer of unrivalled growth. Ahead of this, the white-label app Ubamarket, who provide the in-store apps for SPAR, Budgens and Central England Co-op, have compiled analysis of why the supermarket sector is set to flourish this summer.

1. Preparedness for post-pandemic consumer habits

As Britain embarks upon the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions, retail stores have had to contend with facilitating for safe shopping, costing individual chains millions. However, as highlighted in Ubamarket’s annual Retail Trends Report for 2021, there is still a discernible reticence amongst consumers regarding their return to supermarket venues. Within the report, it was unveiled that 52% of Brits have considered supermarkets and retail venues as the most infectious place to contract Covid-19. The result of this has meant that a further 57% of Brits have agreed that their perception of what is it is to feel safe in supermarket and retail venues has permanently shifted. Now however, after a year of preparation and in-store alterations, supermarkets have made the greatest strides amongst other sub-sectors of retail to prepare themselves for the return of en-masse footfall.

2. The resurgence of convenience

While many had speculated that the pandemic would accelerate the demise of the convenience store, small retailers have used this opportunity to catalyse their integration with sophisticated retail technology, thus enhancing their service offering. For example, retailers SPAR and Central England Co-op established and strengthened their partnerships with Ubamarket, utilising their app features such as aisle sat-nav, digitalised shopping lists, plastic and allergy alerts, personalised offers and till-less payments. With convenience retail growing by 9.2% over the course of 2020, the sub-sector has potentially seen the most dramatic change in the last 12 months, helping to bring stores into the 21st century.

3. Marketing for an unprecedented age

At the turn of 2020, nobody could quite anticipate the turbulence that would ensure for the next 18 months. As businesses were thrown into depths of recession, supermarkets established their necessity, and continued to remain relevant. Through effective marketing, and clear communication with a critical mass audience, supermarkets and grocery outlets cemented their place as an essential backbone for society. In fact, research from Ubamarket uncovered that 50% of people in Britain, amounting to 21.7 million, said that being able to do a weekly shop at the local supermarket or convenience store was vital to combatting isolation in lockdown. Fully recognising this sentiment, television adverts during Christmas by all the major supermarket chains recognised the importance of serving communities throughout adversity, highlighting the challenges that they had risen to. While these past 18 months wont be easily forgotten, the role that supermarkets and their employees played will perhaps be one element of these unprecedented times that will be remembered favourably.

Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, discusses how supermarkets have pivoted during the past year to ensure success in 2021.

“Retail venues, chiefly supermarkets, have done a fine job throughout the periods of lockdown, and their presence has been hugely appreciated by the public. Now that non-essential retail has reopened, there will be a sense of trepidation as we return back to normality, but supermarkets have placed themselves in the best position possible to tackle the challenges that this summer’s retail activity will throw at them.”