Lidl remains the fastest growing retailer in the country, according to the latest figures on the Irish grocery market.

Statistics from data analyst Kantar show that the grocery market here maintained steady growth of 1.3% in the 12 weeks to February 23, compared to the same period in 2019.

Lidl leads the way, with Aldi not far behind, while Tesco and Dunnes were the only retailers to accelerate their growth rate, increasing values of sales in the period by 0.7% and 3.5% respectively.

Coronavirus seems to be having an effect on consumer behaviour, with sales of hand ash products increasing by 15%.

Charlotte Scott, consumer insights director with Kantar, explained: “We’d expect to see more of an impact towards the end of February and into March, as increased awareness of the virus will likely lead to an uplift in sales of healthcare products.

“This, coupled with the impact of Storm Jorge in late February, may well lead to growing sales of goods typically associated with stockpiling, like pasta and tinned or frozen food,” Scott added.

With Valentine’s Day occurring during the recorded period, sales in relation to this improved, with numbers for chocolates and gifts up by 13% over the four weeks to February 23, while other Valentine’s Day categories – such as wine and chilled ready meals – grew by 6%.

As a result of Valentine’s Day, sales of products on deal doubled compared to the same period last year.

Dunnes, Tesco and SuperValu all contributed to this, increasing their sales of boxed chocolates on offer by 23%, 22% and 18% respectively.

Lidl increased its market share by 0.5% to 11.5%, benefiting from shoppers maintaining healthy habits, with fruit sales rising by an additional €2.3 million.

Aldi, meanwhile, saw slightly slower growth then it did in the same period last year, at 5.3%. The retailer continued to gain market share as shoppers increased the amount of items they bought, with one in every two customers adding one more item to their baskets compares to the same 12-week period in 2019.

The market share and percentage change for the major retailers to February 23, 2020 – compared to the same period in 2019 – is outlined below:

  • Dunnes – 23.5% market share, up 3.5%;
  • Tesco – 21.5% market share, up 0.7%;
  • SuperValu – 21.4% market share, up 1.9%;
  • Aldi – 11.6% market share, up 5.3%;
  • Lidl – 11.5% market share, up 5.6%;
  • Other outlets – 10.5% market share, down 10.4%.