UK shoppers are expected to spend £20.3bn on groceries over the Christmas period, a 1.4% rise on last year.

According to a report by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), 19% will spend more on food and drink compared to last Christmas and 18% will spend more on their Christmas meal. Fifty-nine per cent of shoppers feel Christmas is the best time to spend on food and drink and 46% are tempted to buy novel and exclusive food and grocery products.

However, the growing number willing to spend is tempered by an increasing consumer awareness of how to shop around for the best deals. Sixty-nine percent of shoppers say they will use food discounters this Christmas, pushing their sales to a forecasted £1.7bn for the five weeks to 26 December. 16 months’ worth of deflation in energy and commodity prices will also have an impact.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive at IGD, said: “Well over half of shoppers (56%) tell us they’re going to visit two or more stores on the same trip to buy their food and groceries at Christmas. Supermarkets will remain by far the most popular destination, but discounters, specialist stores (such as butchers’ shops and off licences) and convenience stores are also favoured by many. People are shopping around and spreading their spending across a growing number of formats.

“Online grocery will also receive another boost. Substantially more shoppers expect to do a ‘big Christmas shop’ online this year compared to last: 17% compared to 14%. Overall, half of shoppers (50%) intend to buy some food and groceries online, including via click and collect. The top reasons given are to avoid crowds and to save time. We forecast online will generate £1.2bn of grocery sales this Christmas.”