An increase in the proportion of people shopping in convenience, but a decline in visit frequency, spend and basket size have been reported on the latest data from the Lumina Intelligence Convenience Tracking Programme.

The proportion of UK consumers that shopped in convenience increased to 63% in the 12 weeks ending April 3, an increase of 5.1 percentage points compared with the previous 12-week period.

According to Lumina Intelligence this was driven by a number of factors, including sporting events such as the Six Nations and Formula One, as well as more shoppers being out and about after eased Covid restrictions.

Despite the increase in penetration, during the same period visit frequency, spend and basket size all declined. Average visit frequency declined 8.4% to 2.6 times per week, basket size fell 2.3% to 2.8 items per trip and spend was down 11.8% to £9.33 per visit.

In-store purchases have seen a boost of percentage points in the past 12 weeks, after eased Covid restrictions and shoppers returning to their pre-pandemic habits. In-store shopping accounted for 91.5% of all convenience store occasions. The in-store boost has come at the expense of delivery and click and collect declining in share by 3 percentage points and 1 percentage point respectively.

The top-up (distress) mission has seen the strongest growth in missions share of occasions, up by 1.2 percentage points.. More shoppers are out and about and back to workplaces, with drink to go occasions increasing by 1 percentage point and contributing to lower spend and basket size. Treat led occasions have also increased by 1 percentage point, driven by seasonal events including Valentine’s Day and the run up to Easter.

Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local have seen the strongest growth with a share of occasions increasing by 3.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points respectively. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have benefitted from being in the town centre, travel and city centre locations, with footfall at these locations picking up in the latest 12 weeks.

Commenting on the findings, senior insight manager at Lumina Intelligence Katherine Prowse said: “As we face into this rising cost of living crisis, consumers will become more cautious on how and where they spend their money. This is already evident, with spend, frequency and basket size all declining in our latest 12-week period.

“However, the increase in penetration provides retailers with a big opportunity to demonstrate the value that they offer to a wider audience. If they can demonstrate this, alongside their fantastic community spirit, then the opportunities to grow during challenging times will present themselves.”