Take-home grocery sales growth slowed to 13.7 per cent year on year during the three months to early September, Kantar reports. The trend suggests shoppers are returning to more normal habits following the high spending seen at the height of the pandemic. However, there are signs that the market may soon speed up again as local lockdowns take effect.
Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, says grocery sales over the past 12 weeks remain significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, but compared with April and May shopping routines are much closer to what would be usually expected. People are visiting grocery stores more often than they have since June, at an average of 19 times in the last month.
It indicates an increased sense of security among shoppers since face coverings were introduced at the start of August. “However, it’s a slightly more nuanced picture when we look at what the latest four weeks of sales might mean for the market,” Healy added. An extra €19 million spent on groceries during the past month coincides with a number of local lockdowns.
Healy said the trend suggests that local restrictions are already making their mark, with people in certain parts of the country spending more to stock up on food and drink to consume at home. “It will be interesting to see what effect an impending local lockdown could have on grocery sales as shoppers navigate new restrictions,” she said.
Despite some economic uncertainty, brands have again proved to be standout performers, growing ahead of the market by 18 per cent and outpacing private label sales year on year with an extra €205m spend. German discounters Lidl and Aldi both saw strong growth in branded sales, which grew by 48 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.
Lidl was also top of the table in terms of overall growth rate in the latest 12 weeks, growing by 21.2 per cent year on year to boost its sales by €63.3m. Aldi holds a 12.6 per cent share of the market, with growth driven by an increase in volume per trip and higher average prices. The popularity of online shopping continues with sales up by 121.7 per cent.
It represents another month of record-breaking growth for the online channel and digital sales added €72.9m to the total market in the latest 12 weeks. New shoppers accounted for almost a quarter of the €133.6m spent online. SuperValu continues to grow most and has the biggest share of spend at 22.1 per cent, followed by Dunnes on 21.3 per cent market share.
Higher average prices and bigger trip sizes drove growth for Tesco, with a 21 per cent share.