The UK food and grocery market is set to be worth £206bn by 2018, increasing by over a fifth (21%) says The IGD.

The figures form part of IGD’s latest research, ShopperVista, which also shows that online, discounters and convenience are the fastest growing sectors of the market.

While superstores and hypermarkets generate the most sales of any grocery format, they will grow at a slower rate than the top three formats.

Online is expected to grow by 124% over the next five years, food discounters 97%, and convenience 30%.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “The ‘hot three’ areas of online, convenience and food discounters are the ones to watch – collectively accounting for more than £3 out of every £4 of growth in UK grocery over the next five years.  

“Both online and convenience retailing are reaping the rewards of our changing lifestyles. With more of us owning smartphones and tablets, online grocery shopping is becoming more popular. Retailers are also introducing more convenient and flexible services, such as temperature controlled ‘click & collect’ lockers for shoppers to pick up their groceries at a time and place that suits them.”

Denney-Finch also explained that convenience stores were benefiting from a cultural shift where consumers buy “little and often”. With convenience sales set to rise by over £10bn over the next five years, IGD forecast convenience to generate the largest cash growth  of any type of grocery retailing between 2013 and 2018.

“We also expect food discounters, like Aldi and Lidl, to continue to do well and build on their recent stellar performance,” added Denney-Finch. “Nearly a third (32%) of  shoppers tell us they will use food discounters more in the year ahead compared to almost a quarter (24%) in September 2010.”