Covid-19 supermarket spending: People ‘continuing to treat themselves’

Covid-19 brought about many changes in society, and the latest grocery market figures have revealed quite a lot about people’s habits when it comes to supermarket spending during lockdown.

As normality returns and people get back to their old ways, there are some trends in spending that are here to stay and shoppers are “continuing to treat themselves”, according to retail analyst Kantar.

The latest figures from Kantar reveal that take-home grocery sales in Ireland increased by 23.2% for a period of 12 weeks to July 12.

These three months of increased spending meant an additional €577.7 million passed through tills while the nation continued to work from home, while restaurants remained closed until the end of June.

SuperValu holds biggest market share

Among the traditional big three Irish retailers, SuperValu claimed the biggest market share for the fourth month in a row and saw sales rise by 30.9% as it remained the only major grocer not to experience reduced footfall in the latest 12 weeks.

Dunnes recorded the highest spend per buyer of all the grocers as shoppers parted with an additional €12.24 per trip on average and continued to increase their trip sizes. The retailer recorded growth of 14.6% in this period.

Tesco grew by 20.7% to hold a 21.1% share of the market.

‘Cautious return to pre-Covid habits’

However, according to Kantar retail analyst Emer Healy, there are signs that shoppers are tentatively beginning to return to pre-lockdown behaviour as restrictions were eased and non-essential retail has reopened.

“We are beginning to see some people cautiously return to pre-Covid habits,” Healy said.

“Grocery sales growth over the latest four weeks slowed to 17.8% as shoppers started to spend less on food for their fridge and more on eating and drinking out.

“While some trends are reversing, it appears that others are here to stay.”

The report shows that during lockdown, people turned to Irish household names – with an additional €345 million spent on branded-products. Brands like Barry’s Tea, Keelings, Kelkin and Keogh’s all experienced a sales boost.

Aldi was the major supermarket beneficiary of this boost in branded goods, with sales for those products increasing by more than half, which helped the retailer to grow by 20.9% year-on-year.

Lidl also had a notable few months, marking its 20th anniversary in Ireland along with recording its highest ever market share of 12.7%.

Sales through digital platforms soared

Grocery sales through digital platforms soared by 123% year-on-year as the pandemic continued to encourage demand for online shopping, according to Healy.

“It goes without saying that [the] lockdown had a major role to play in driving more shoppers to try online grocery shopping and it looks like the boom is set to continue. An additional 75,000 shoppers purchased groceries online over the past 12 weeks, contributing €38.9 million to the channel,” she added.

Drop in deodorant sales and a hike in alcohol – Summer at home

With international travel off the table for many due to Covid-19, Healy said sun-cream sales also dropped by 66%, along with a drop in deodorant sales. As people spend more time at home, sales of alcohol in supermarkets grew by 76% in the 12 weeks recorded.