Grocery sales in Ireland declined by 5.2% year-on-year in the latest 12 weeks ended 16 May 2021, according to the latest data from Kantar.
In the latest four weeks, sales fell by 6.9% compared with the same period last year, which saw record-breaking growth at the height of Ireland’s first COVID-19 lockdown, Kantar added.
Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, commented, “While grocery sales may have dipped this month, that does reflect a tough comparison against the unprecedented spend we saw this time last year.
“People are still filling their baskets more than they were before the pandemic, and if we compare the past 12 weeks to the same time two years ago, sales are actually up 18.8%.”
The decline, however, comes amid rising consumer confidence as a result of the ongoing vaccine rollout and easing of restrictions.
Shoppers in the country are visiting shops more often, making an additional 2.1 million trips to supermarkets in the latest four weeks, compared with last year.
Retired people are leading the trend, with an extra 380,000 visits to grocers in this period.
Shopper behaviour was impacted by a wet and cold May and changed what people were putting in their baskets in this period, the study noted.
Consumers spent €330,000 less on chilled burgers and grills and €979,000 less on ice creams in the latest 12 weeks, compared to last year.
Alcohol sales also witnessed a decline, with people spending €59 million less on alcohol in supermarkets during the period.
Emer Healy added, “Last year, the beginning of the barbecue season was a relief and an opportunity to do something different for many people during the first lockdown, but so far, poor weather has meant that we haven’t been rushing to cook outdoors this time around.
“As pubs and hospitality start to reopen next month, we expect sales through the grocers to continue to fluctuate as people can enjoy a drink out of their homes again.”
Elsewhere, sales of haircare products and hair colourants dropped by 7.4% and 9.4%, respectively, in the latest four weeks as beauty salons reopened in May.
Online Grocery Sales
With lockdown rules still in place for much of the retail and hospitality sectors, shoppers have not shaken off all their lockdown habits just yet, and many of the major themes of the past year prevailed, Kantar said.
Emer Healy stated, ”We’ve learned to rely on the convenience of shopping online for our groceries, and in the latest 12 weeks, online sales soared 38.3% compared with this time last year, adding €43.1 million to the market.
“Empty nest families led the growth, boosting sales by 113% and spending an additional €11.2 million on online shops versus last year.”
SuperValu retained the largest share of the grocery market at 22.2%, driven by shoppers returning to its stores more often, contributing an additional €41 million.
Tesco remained in the second-highest position with a share of 21.6%, while Dunnes Stores accounted for 21.2% of grocery sales in this period.
Both Tesco and Dunnes benefited from growing confidence among shoppers and attracted new customers into stores in the past 12 weeks, with shopper numbers up 25,100 and 28,200 respectively, Kantar added.
Aldi also witnessed more footfall, boosting sales by €9 million and retaining its 12.2% market share.
Lidl saw 0.7% growth in sales and accounted for 12.8% of the grocery market share, as shoppers spent an extra €9.1 million on branded items in its stores.