Irish grocery sales dropped by 4.5% as restrictions around the Covid-19 pandemic were eased, according to new data.

Although Kantar is reporting that in the three months up to January 23, 2022 take-home sales dropped, the returns are still 11.2% higher than before the pandemic took hold two years ago.

The recent drop in sales comes as people enjoy the freedom to eat out in restaurants, pubs and cafes again.

“We can see the impact of these busier social calendars in people’s baskets. Many consumers have turned to convenience options as they juggle new routines, with an additional €14.5 million spent on chilled convenience this period,” Emer Healy, senior retail analyst with Kantar, said.

“Sales of deodorant and men’s skincare have also soared 3.8% and 6.5% respectively as we aim to look and smell our best when seeing friends and family again,” she added.

It seems that consumers have also stuck with habits formed during lockdown with online grocery sales up €5.4 million on the same time last year.

As many people are still working from home for part of the week, Kantar noted that people are spending 13.3% more during each trip to the supermarket in order to keep their fridges and cupboards stocked up compared to early 2020.

“There’s also a sense that some people still feel a bit cautious about Covid-19 and not everyone is ready to get out just yet,” Healy observed.

Grocery price inflation

The Kantar data has also shown that due to rising food costs people are shopping around at different retailers in a bid to find the best prices.

Over the past 12 weeks, grocery price inflation reached its highest level since October 2020 at 1.7%; the number of products being discounted fell by 3% compared to January 2021.

Following the indulgence of Christmas, many households embarked on ‘dry January’, with sales of non-alcoholic drinks jumping by 5.6% since 2018.

However, Kantar noted that ‘Veganuary’ did not have as much of an impact with shoppers spending €481,000 less on frozen vegetarian products compared to the same period last year.

Image Source: Kantar

With 23.1% of the market, Dunnes retained its position as Ireland’s largest retailer; Kantar said an influx of new shoppers boosted the company’s performance by €42.2 million.

However, SuperValu and Tesco are very close to the top spot with market shares of 22.2% and 22.1% respectively. Lidl now holds an 11.8% share, with Aldi at 11.6%.

The figures show that all outlets saw drops in consumer spending in the 12 weeks up to January 23.