Irish grocery sales amounted to €3.1 billion during the 12 weeks to 26 December 2021, according to the latest figures from Kantar.
The latest 12 weeks marked a 10.9% sales growth compared with 2019.
However, the value of the grocery market declined by 5.2% compared with record sales in 2020.
Irish shoppers geared up for a larger Christmas celebration with friends and family as household mixing was allowed.
In December alone €1.1 billion went through tills, which was 0.6% lower than 2020, and an increase of €141 million compared with 2019, or the equivalent to an extra €65 per household.
Emer Healy, senior retail analyst at Kantar, commented, “More guests meant larger trips to the supermarket for many people in the run-up to Christmas.
“Shoppers were eager to make up for lost time last year and willing to spend a little more on the big day itself to make it special.”
Shoppers spend an extra €3.1 million on Christmas dinner, with whole turkey sales up by €1.9 million.
“Not every festive favourite was so fortunate though and sales of Brussels sprouts dipped by 1.4%, with only three-fifths of Irish households taking them home,” Healy added.
Sales of other festive foods, including Christmas biscuits, cheese and confectionery, were €10.5 million more in 2021 than in December 2020.
Healy added that homegrown Irish brands were the order of the day and standouts included Brennans bread and Keogh’s crisps, which saw sales rise by 6.6% and 34.3% respectively.
“People’s desire for a more luxurious Christmas also pushed up premium own-label sales to a record-breaking €58 million over December, €604,000 more than in 2020,” she continued.
The year-on-year take-home alcohol sales fell by 22.9%, though they were up by 6.7% compared with Christmas 2019, data showed.
The no- and low-alcohol category registered a 12.2% growth in value over the year.
Sales of cold and cough remedies saw significant growth, with shoppers spending €1.2 million on cold treatments and €1.4 million on cough liquids in the latest 12 weeks.
Online grocery sales saw a 9.3% growth, with 17% of Irish households purchasing groceries digitally over the latest 12 weeks.
Healy stated, “The Irish public has really embraced online shopping and more and more people are trusting delivery services to get what they need.
“Online is far from reaching its ceiling. We’re still seeing new buyers being converted and those shoppers are buying increasingly bigger baskets too.”
Busiest Shopping Day
Similar to other years, 23 December was the busiest shopping day of the year with people spending a combined €81.6 million on their final shop before Christmas.
Healy commented, “Despite concerns about supply chain issues and inflation, consumers were confident that retailers would have fully stocked shelves and they left much of their food shopping until the final few days.
“That boosted retailers over the festive trading period and all the major grocers were in year-on-year growth over the four weeks to 26 December.”
Dunnes Stores emerged as Ireland’s top retailer, securing 23.2% of the market.
SuperValu and Tesco were both close behind, with shares of 22.2% each, while Lidl and Aldi accounted for 11.7% and 11.6% respectively.