Supermarket shoppers are stuffing TVs, T-shirts and the like into their trolleys so enthusiastically that non-food will account for 10 per cent of UK grocers' sales by next year.
Industry think-tank IGD forecasts that the UK grocery market will be worth£118.1 billion by the end of this year, up 2.7 per cent from£115 billion last year. Non-food continues to grow fastest, and accounts for slightly more than 9 per cent of sales.
IGD business manager David Gordon said the growth in the overall market is being driven by consumers buying more premium products, as well as the boom in non-food. He said: 'You only need to look at the ranges of the major multiples. The likes of Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda all give customers the options to trade up if they want to do so.'
Gordon added that food prices are now cheaper than ever. Food price inflation is running at 0.5 per cent, more than 2 percentage points less than background inflation.
According to IGD's Grocery Retailing 2004, growth over the next five years will come from both small and big stores.
Gordon expected the convenience sector to grow from£23 billion to£29 billion in the next four years, while the number of hypermarkets in the UK is likely to increase from 600 to 800. By 2009, IGD expects the grocery market to be worth£133.5 billion.