Why 2014 was the best Christmas for grocery sales in years, and it wasn’t just turkeys

Last year, 2014, saw the best Christmas since 2010 for the Irish grocery market according to Eoin Kelly, Business Analyst with Bord Bia.

He says the latest Kantar World Panel figures for the 12 week period ending January 4 show the best Christmas performance since 2010 for Irish supermarkets, with sales growing by 1%.

According to Kelly, the latest figures highlight that Irish consumers were willing to spend more at Christmas, with consumers on average spending €67 more on groceries over the festive period.

Increases, he said were evident across most key performance indicators, with increased sales in value and volume, increased shopping trips and volume per buyer. However, overall spend per trip was down.

Kelly said the average family spend on groceries over the four-week Christmas period was €469.

He noted that younger families with smaller households spent less at Christmas compared to older families with three plus members, who spent most at Christmas.

Households hosting Christmas dinner spent €175.80 more on groceries compared to families who were not hosting Christmas lunch, he said.

Looking at how the dinner, alcohol and niceties categories performed over the Christmas period, Kelly said the largest increase in value growth compared to the same period in 2013 was for dinner products such as meat and vegetables.

He said dinner products recorded a value growth of 10%, followed by niceties, showing an increase of 8%, with alcohol showing a 6% increase in value.

Looking at the meat category, total meat sales grew by 2.2% in value and 5.1% in volume for the 12-week period ending January 4 with beef, lamb, bacon and poultry driving both value and volume growth in the market, with pork showing a decline.

According to Kelly, beef grew shopper numbers and number of shopping trips, but showed a decline in terms of volumes and price.

Focusing on retailer performance, Kelly noted that competition for market share remains fierce.

According to Kelly, Tesco continues to hold the highest share, closely followed by SuperValu, with Dunnes Stores in third position followed by the discounters.

However, he said the winner over the Christmas period was Lidl which recorded the highest growth over the period, of 12%.