Take-home grocery sales growth in Ireland slowed to 13.7% year on year during the 12 weeks to Sunday, September 6, 2020, the latest figures from Kantar reveal.

Slowing growth suggests shoppers are starting to return to more normal habits following the unprecedented spending seen during the height of the pandemic, Kantar says.

However, there are tentative signs that the market may accelerate again in the short term, as local lockdowns take effect around the country.

Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, commented, stating: “Grocery sales over the past 12 weeks remain significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, but compared with April and May shopping routines are much closer to what we would usually expect.

For example, people are visiting grocery stores more frequently than they have since June, at an average of 19 times over the course of the past four weeks, indicating an increased sense of security among shoppers since face coverings were introduced at the start of August.

“However, it’s a slightly more nuanced picture when we look at what the latest four weeks of sales might mean for the market going forward.

“An additional €19 million spent on groceries during the past month coincides with the start of a number of local lockdowns. This suggests that local restrictions are already making their mark – with people in certain parts of the country spending more to stock up on food and drink to consume at home.”

Looking ahead, ongoing local restrictions are expected to continue to disrupt shopping patterns across Ireland.

The popularity of online grocery shopping continues, and online sales grew by 121.7% over the latest four weeks.

Healy added: “This represents another month of record-breaking growth for the online channel and digital sales added €72.9 million to the total market in the latest 12 weeks.

“New shoppers accounted for almost a quarter of the €133.6 million spent on online groceries during that time.”

In a breakdown of market share among the main retailers, SuperValu is in the lead, followed by Dunnes and Tesco respectively.

Boosted by comprehensive online offers, SuperValu continues to grow ahead of the market and holds the biggest share of spend at 22.1%, while Tesco registered a 21% market share, Kantar says.

Higher average prices and larger trip size drove growth for Tesco this period.