Ireland’s grocery spend increased by €630 million during lockdown

Total take-home grocery sales increased by almost €630 million in the 12 weeks up to June 14 compared to the same period of last year, reflecting the change in consumer patterns due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The latest figures from data analyst firm Kantar show that the take-home grocery spend increased 24.7% in that period compared to last year, equating to a €628.7 million increase.

Despite this though, some retailers are nonetheless feeling the decline of other categories, like food-on-the-go and clothing.

Growth accelerated slightly in the most recent four weeks of the period, with sales increasing 25% during that time.

“We haven’t quite shaken off the habits of lockdown life just yet – people are still making fewer, larger trips to the supermarket. But there are signs that Irish shoppers are taking their first tentative steps back to normality,” said Emer Healy, retail analyst for Kantar.

“As restrictions start to ease, including the lifting of limits on travel today [Monday, June 29], people are growing more confident and the number of shopping trips inched up slightly in the most recent four weeks [of the reference period], by 2.3%,” she added.

Healy explained: “When in store, shoppers are continuing to buy more than in normal times, and the average person has spent €204 extra this June than last year – an average of €30.77 each trip.

There are indications of cautious optimism in Ireland. Despite the months of lockdown, 40% of Irish consumers say they feel financially comfortable and that’s reflected in how they are shopping.

Meanwhile, online shopping has also seen a significant rise due to Covid-19, with an extra €70.9 million spent online in the 12-week period – a year-on-year increase of 114.3%. It was mostly older shoppers who went for the online option. However, 63.6% of shoppers said they haven’t shopped online and have no intention of doing so.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, sales of take-home alcohol increased by 93% in the last four weeks of the reference period.

Other figures include year-on-year increased sales for bacon (up 25%); eggs (up 36%); and sausages (up 35%).

Market shares

In terms of the market shares for grocery outlets, smaller independent outlets benefited from the travel restrictions, growing their combined sales by 44.8% during the period. This included an additional €11 million spent at butchers compared to the same period last year.

SuperValu held on to the highest share of the market at 22.9% and achieved the fastest year-on-year growth, at 35.2%. SuperValu was also the only outlet not to see a reduced footfall, with an additional 53,000 shoppers passing through its doors.

Tesco’s sales grew by 22.2%, to hold on to a 21.5% market share. Dunnes, meanwhile, saw growth of 15.4% for a market share of 20.5%.

Lidl saw its sales increase by 29.7% year-on-year, for a total market share of 12.2%, while Aldi’s growth of 20.4% gave it a market share 11.9% during the reference period.