Shoppers spent a record £29.3 billion at supermarkets over the 12 weeks to December 30, Kantar Worldpanel has said.
Consumers spent an additional £450 million on groceries compared with this time last year, according to Kantar.
Two thirds of households shopped at either Aldi or Lidl over the Christmas period, giving the challengers a highest-ever combined market share for the season of 12.8 per cent
Asda came out top among the “big four” supermarkets, as strong online growth of 12 per cent helped push its overall sales up by 0.7 per cent, Kantar said.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Despite the supermarket sector growing at 1.6 per cent – its slowest rate since March 2017 – the retailers clocked in another record-breaking Christmas as households racked up an average spend of £383 in grocery bills for the month of December. Saturday 22 December proved to be the busiest shopping day of the year: more than half of all households visited one of the grocers in a last-minute Christmas dash, with 1.7 million additional customers walking through the aisles compared to the Saturday before.
“Although the grocers achieved record sales, overall spend was actually tempered by lower inflation of 1.3 per cent – that’s less than half the level of like-for-like inflation of 3.6 per cent which was recorded in Christmas 2017. This slower inflation rate helped shoppers to manage their festive budgets, with 60 per cent of customers looking to make savvier decisions to make their money go further over the holidays.”
Although growing at half the rate of last year, premium own-label lines still increased by 3.7 per cent over the 12-week period – hitting a record £1.1 billion in sales – as customers looked to trade up on quality for their Christmas dinner.
Mr McKevitt added: “Asda’s ‘Extra Special’ range was the fastest growing of any premium line of the major retailers, helping the supermarket achieve growth of 0.7 per cent and come out top among the big four. Asda was also bolstered by a standout online performance as its e-commerce sales rocketed by 12 per cent.”