The UK convenience sector, currently valued at £32.1bn, will continue to outperform the grocery market and is projected to increase sales by 5.8% a year to £42.6bn in 2015, according to the latest figures released by international food and grocery analyst IGD.

Its latest report, UK Grocery Retail Outlook: Opportunities Beyond 2010, reveals that we will spend £182.7bn in grocery retail outlets by 2015 – an average annual growth of 3.9%. It also reveals that:

-accounting for 8.2% of the UK grocery sector, non-food sales reached £12.4bn in 2010 and are predicted to increase to £17.1bn by 2015;

-online grocery retailing is set to double in value from £4.8bn to £9.5bn by 2015. This is due to technological enhancements, improvements to websites and delivery/collect methods, and greater confidence among shoppers.

The report, which also includes a supplier survey, found that food and drink manufacturers expressed a high level of optimism about the prospects of their businesses in the next three years, with 63% scoring 8 out of 10 or higher.

They are also aware of the need to innovate to grow. When asked how they would change their product strategy in the next three years, nearly two thirds (64%) of suppliers said that they envisage creating products and pack sizes tailored to meet different store formats or channel-specific needs.

Gavin Rothwell, UK research manager, IGD commented: “Many UK retailers have announced major development plans in areas such as convenience and online – all of which are helping drive growth.

Multi-format and multi-channel strategies are gaining traction and scale as retailers seek to reach shoppers in different ways.”

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “Despite a tough trading environment, the food and grocery industry has demonstrated a resilient performance in the past 12 months. Companies have responded quickly to shifting shopper trends and adapted their business models accordingly to win the contest for value and convenience. The road ahead remains uncertain, but those businesses that keep up with the pace of change will continue to reap the rewards and prosper. “