People will be “making up for lost time” with Halloween festivities this year, with sales of pumpkins increasing by 32% compared to last year, according to data from Kantar.

Meanwhile, the latest grocery market figures show that grocery sales fell by 2.2% year-on-year in the 12 weeks ending October 3.

The decline reflects the fact sales are still being compared against the “extraordinary levels” of shopping seen during the lockdowns in 2020. Spending remains 9.4% higher than in 2019.  

Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, commented: “It’s a nuanced picture in the grocery market at the moment. 

“The lifting of social restrictions and high vaccination rates mean shoppers are more comfortable going out and visiting physical stores, but they also mean people’s social calendars are filling up again. 

“More socialising means we’re living less regimented lives, and with more eating at restaurants, pubs and on the go, the reliance which many had on supermarkets to get their meals last year is starting to fade. 

“That is evidenced in the latest four-week ending data, which shows supermarket trips are falling by 4.5% year-on-year and the amount bought per visit is also down 0.9%.”

Halloween festivities

As Halloween approaches, sales of pumpkins increased by 32.1% over the past 12 weeks compared to last year, while sugar confectionery and share bags of chocolate are up 6.4% and 15.3% respectively, Healy continued.

All eyes were on the Irish economy last week as the government set out the latest budget for the year ahead. 

Shoppers will be keen to keep a close watch on their grocery spending too – the past 12 weeks brought the “highest levels of inflation in the market since March 2021”. 

Prices are 0.6% higher than a year ago, with healthcare, hot beverages and frozen food the most affected categories – up 8%, 5.1% and 4.6% respectively.

Kantar grocery market share figures

Despite prices going up, consumer confidence is high. 

Dunnes was the only retailer to recruit new shoppers this period as it and Tesco found favour through more premium items.

SuperValu continues to hold the largest share of the grocery market this month at 22.3%.

Aldi was boosted by store openings across the country and welcomed a second consecutive month with a record-breaking share – now at 12.8%.

Lidl held its share steady at 12.7% this period.