Grocery sales rise points to more time at home

Kantar reports that while take home grocery sales in Ireland slowed to almost 12 per cent year on year during the three months to early October, stronger growth over the past four weeks points to shoppers preparing to spend more time at home in the coming months, as the Government announces tighter restriction to deal with the pandemic.

Emer Healy, retail analyst, Kantar, said that while growth over the past three months has slowed compared with the dizzying heights of lockdown, shoppers still spent over €100 million more on groceries in the past four weeks compared to the same period last year. Healy expects to see a further boost in spend as restrictions tighten.

With Dublin under a level three lockdown since mid-September, consumer trends in the capital paint a picture of what is to come for the rest of the country as more measures to control the virus come into force. Dublin saw the strongest regional growth this period, increasing sales by almost a fifth and providing an extra €48.2m to the market.

International ingredients

Restrictions on pubs and restaurants meant sales of alcohol jumped by 53 per cent in the past month. Shoppers returned to lockdown pastimes, including recreating restaurant and holiday favourites at home, with sales of international ingredients rising by a quarter. With hygiene a priority, sales of antiseptics and disinfectants rose by 67 per cent.

Kantar says Lidl’s strong store footprint in Dublin helped it achieve the fastest growth of all the retailers this period at 19.1 per cent, as shoppers in the capital spent an additional €57.3m in store. Aldi grew sales by 11 per cent, largely driven by customers buying more and spending an average of €36.46 more per shopper in the latest three months.

Following the record-breaking growth seen last period, online grocery sales remain high, increasing by over three quarters in the four weeks to early October. Though a climbdown from the record jump of 128 per cent witnessed in September, shoppers are continuing to make use of delivery services and online orders were worth an extra €18.7m.

Dunnes expanded its online capabilities in October and now joins SuperValu at the top of the table with both retailers claiming a 21.9 per cent market share. Larger trips contributed an extra  €63m to Dunnes’ overall spend, while shoppers picking up 13.3 per cent more items in store in SuperValu helped it to grow ahead of the market at 15.6 per cent.

Shoppers prepare for Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, retailers have launched deals on products like seasonal chocolates and advent calendars. While the grocers are feeling festive, it is a different story for Irish shoppers. There is a lot of uncertainty around what Christmas will look like this year and people’s behaviour is different from what we would normally expect.

In the latest three months, consumers spent €1.8m less on tubs and tins of chocolate than this time last year. But Healy says it is not to say shoppers have lost their sweet tooth. The trend of seeking out little luxuries while spending more time at home continues. Nine in 10 Irish households purchased chocolate almost every week over the past three months.

Tesco holds a 20.9 per cent market share this period. Growth was driven by shoppers adding extra items to their baskets, with volumes up 21 per cent, and the percentage increase in average spend at Tesco was the highest among all the retailers.


Total Take Home Grocery – Consumer Spend 12 Weeks to 06 Oct 2019 12 Weeks to 04 Oct 2020 % Change in Value Sales
%* %* %
Total Outlets 100.0% 100.0% 11.9%
Total Multiples 89.5% 90.0% 12.5%
Dunnes 22.6% 21.9% 8.7%
SuperValu 21.2% 21.9% 15.6%
Tesco 21.1% 20.9% 10.7%
Aldi 12.6% 12.6% 11.0%
Lidl 11.9% 12.7% 19.1%
Other Outlets** 10.5% 10.0% 6.2%

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