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Retail

Irish Grocery Sales Exceed €1.4bn In December: Kantar

By Dayeeta Das
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Irish Grocery Sales Exceed €1.4bn In December: Kantar

Irish grocery sales exceeded €1.4 billion in December, with the average household expenditure on groceries hitting an all-time high of €767 during the month, according to the latest data from Kantar.

The figure represents an increase of nearly €42 compared with 2022, and €170 on 2019.

Take-home grocery sales grew by 7.8%, while the number of packs bought declined by 5.3%, data showed.

Irish shoppers made nearly 42 million trips over the four weeks to 24 December 2023 – 3.4 million more than last year and the highest ever recorded at Christmas.

'A Mammoth Month'

Emer Healy, business development director at Kantar, commented, “As we expected, this Christmas was a mammoth month. Friday 22 December turned out to be the most popular shopping day over Christmas week. Irish shoppers spent €92 million in stores, with just over two million trips made on Friday alone – meaning that over 36% of Irish households were in store that day.

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“However, with Christmas day falling on a Monday, shoppers had a full week to prepare, which led to more staggered shopping trips and making Saturday, 23 [December] the second busiest trading day, with €87 million running through the tills.”

Grocery price inflation, which stood at 7.1% for the 12 weeks to 24 December 2023, continued to drive sales during the period.

The figure marks a significant decline from the rate of 15.5% seen in January 2023.

Kantar noted that despite this decline, inflation is still 'exceptionally high' and Irish consumers face 'serious pressures' on their household budgets.

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Promotional Offers

Healy stated, “Retailers worked hard during the festive season to attract shoppers by offering the best value, and promotions were central to their strategy.

"Nearly 29% of all spend in the 12 weeks to 24 December 2023 was made on items with some promotional offer, the highest level since January 2023 and €117 million more than the previous year. Dunnes, Tesco and online all saw strong growth in sales on promotion – ahead of the total market of 12.7%.”

Alongside promotions, retailers also placed emphasis on own-label lines, which have been attracting Irish shoppers throughout 2023, Kantar added.

Private label goods continued to grow ahead of the total market, rising 10.4% year-on-year.

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In total, shoppers spent an additional €151 million year-on-year on private labels.

Premium private-label ranges continued to perform strongly, as shoppers spent an additional €177 million (up 11.8%) on the category compared to the same period last year.

Other Trends

Irish consumers spent an additional €105 million (up 6.1%) compared to 2022 on branded goods, as they sought to treat themselves over the Christmas period.

As a result, branded products attained their highest value share since January 2023, accounting for 50.7% of the market.

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Shoppers spent an additional €34.9 million on branded take-home confectionery and take-home soft drinks (combined) compared with the previous year.

Online sales increased by more than a fifth (up 22.6% year-on-year) over the 12 weeks ended 24 December 2023, with shoppers spending an additional €36.6 million and making more frequent trips (up 9.8%).

The channel also saw its shopper base increasing by one percentage point, which helped drive overall growth.

Christmas Dinner

Irish consumers’ desire for the traditional Christmas dinner remained strong, with volumes of potatoes, carrots, and broccoli up 3.1%, 1.9% and 7.5%, respectively, and turkey up 19.8%.

Healy added, “We are creatures of habit when it comes to our Christmas feast, and our data shows that the classic Christmas plate remains much the same. However, Brussels sprouts and mince pies bucked the trend; they were less popular with volumes down 2.4% and 9.3%, respectively.

“Irish shoppers did not lose their sweet tooth altogether, with sales of seasonal biscuits, chilled desserts, and chocolate confectionery up 5.9%,12.6% and 3.2%, respectively – showing that dessert was still on the menu. With more hosting taking place over the Christmas period, Irish shoppers spent an additional €10.4 million on household and cleaning products and €2.2 million more on toiletries.”

Top Retailers

Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and Tesco accounted for a combined market share of 69% during the 12 weeks to 24 December.

Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Lidl all grew ahead of the total market in terms of value in December 2023, data showed.

Dunnes Stores emerged as Ireland's top retailer, as its market share grew by 11.5% year-on-year to hit a new record of 24.5%.

Tesco held a market share of 23.7%, seeing value growth of 10.9% year-on-year.

The retailer saw the strongest frequency of growth among all retailers, with a 12.4% year-on-year increase in the number of trips.

The market share of SuperValu stood at 20.8%, with growth in spending up 6% and the retailer recording the highest number of overall trips (an average of 22.1) compared to other retailers.

The frequency of trips contributed to an additional €39.6 million to its overall performance, Kantar added.

Lidl saw growth of 10.2% year-on-year, with a market share of 12.5%, while Aldi held 10.9% of the market, with growth of 1.4%.

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