Take-home grocery sales in Ireland increased by 10 per cent in the four weeks to Christmas as the average price per pack soared 13 per cent and store visits were up by seven per cent, Kantar reports. The first Christmas since 2019 with no Covid-19 restrictions saw shoppers spend an extra €119 million, making it a record-breaking month with sales of €1.3 billion.
It was the strongest growth since February 2021. Grocery inflation now stands at 15.4 per cent for the 12-week period ending Christmas Day, the highest level yet and even higher than in UK, which currently stands at 14.2 per cent. A significant increase in average price per pack saw shoppers spend an extra €95.31 compared to the same time last year.
While value sales were up 6.7 per cent, grocery price inflation is the driving factor behind this rather than increased purchasing, as volumes fell by four points. Kantar’s Emer Healy said Christmas 2022 was certainly different. Even though 46.5 per cent of buyers claimed they would spend less than previous years, prices did not negatively impact on spend.
Irish families were still looking for ways to keep spirits high, with the average shopper spending €58 more on groceries during December than they did in 2022. Nearly half of the population stocked up on festive treats on December 23, the busiest shopping day of the year, with €94.4m going through the tills.
Sales of festive treats such as chocolate, cheese and paté rose by 9.9 per cent and mince pies by 15.5 per cent, but all declining in volume. Wine bucked the trend with shoppers spending an additional €13.3m year-on-year with strong volume growth of 7.3 per cent. Smaller Christmas gatherings in 2020 and 2021 led to more households opting for rolled turkey.
However, this year 25,000 more households tucked into whole turkeys, reflecting the 32 per cent of buyers that planned on having 5-7 people for Christmas dinner. During December, sales of cold and flu products, as well as household cleaners, also grew as Irish shoppers spent an additional €828,000 on cold treatments and €547,000 on vitamins.
A restriction-free Christmas also meant that more people were hosting others and cleaning their homes, resulting in shoppers spending an extra €6.8m on household products. In December, online sales remained strong, up 8.5 per cent year-on-year, with shoppers spending an extra €4.7m. All retailers saw strong growth in the 12 weeks to Christmas.
Dunnes Stores continues to hold the highest share amongst all retailers at 23.7 per cent with growth of 9.6 per cent year-on-year. Dunnes had the strongest growth in retailer premium own label offerings, up 22 per cent year-on-year. Tesco holds 23 per cent of the market with growth of 8.9 per cent and the strongest frequency growth among all retailers.
SuperValu has 21 per cent of the market, registering the highest number of trips to stores at 21. Lidl holds 12.2 per cent share with the strongest growth among all retailers of 10.1 per cent year-on-year, driven by an influx of new shoppers and more trips contributing an extra €32.4m. Lidl ‘s own label sales, were up 47.2 per cent year-on-year.
Aldi had a 11.6 per cent share, up 7.1 per cent year-on-year and valued at an extra €25.9m.