Irish take-home grocery sales rose by 25.4% during the 12 weeks to Sunday, May 17 – the fastest rate of growth recorded in the past 15 years, according to the latest figures from Kantar.

Meanwhile, the way people are shopping is also changing – online grocery sales were 76% higher than a year ago, and 15% of Irish households received at least one delivery over the latest 12 weeks.

Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, commented on the findings, stating:

“The jump in grocery sales over the most recent three-months in large part reflects the fact that it includes both the pre-lockdown surge in shopper spend and the eight weeks of stay-at-home advice from Government, bringing almost all meals into the home.

While the growth of take-home grocery sales is strong, the overall picture for some supermarkets will be less positive as these gains are offset by falling spend on on-the-go meals, drinks and snacks.

“As lock-down continues, households with more mouths to feed at home have made their way through supplies and are now starting to top up depleted store cupboards.”

Fastest-growing retailer SuperValu claimed the largest market share for the second month in a row and saw sales rise by 32.7%. SuperValu’s locally-focused store estate helped it to benefit from people shopping closer to home and it welcomed 64,000 additional shoppers through its doors this period.

Tesco also recorded formidable sales growth this month. Its typically larger stores allowed it to capitalise on the increase in trolley shops and the grocer grew by 23.7% to hold 21.8% of the market.

Source: Kantar

Dunnes also gained from shoppers spending more in store, spending an extra €10.39 per trip compared with last year, and it recorded healthy growth of 18.0%. This was slightly behind the market, linked partly to Dunnes not having a direct online grocery offer.

Lidl benefitted from its Dublin stronghold to boost sales by 30.5% and held its market share at 12.0%, while Aldi performed strongest in the south of the country, growing overall sales by 20.8% to hold an 11.7% share.

Lockdown has continued to drive up online grocery shopping – and sales through digital platforms increased by 76% year on year.

Healy continued, adding: “Demand for online groceries has soared over the past few months and 15% of Irish households received at least one online delivery over the latest 12 weeks – a significant increase from 9% last year.

“This sudden surge in demand meant that the retailers had to act quickly to increase their online capacity, and have been rightly praised for extending their services to those who need them most.

That includes reaching groups who are more vulnerable in the current crisis, with an additional 26,000 retired households ordering an online delivery over the 12 weeks to May 17 and over 65s spending an extra €8.9 million online.

Noting the surge in buyer activity for the May bank holiday weekend, Healy said: “Friday, May 1, the day before the early May bank holiday weekend, was worth €52.8 million as consumers prepared for a weekend of sunshine.

“It seems many of us enjoyed the barbecue weather as shoppers spent an additional €3.8 million on sausages and burgers. Ice cream sales were worth an extra €5.9 million.”