Grocery sales in Ireland increased by 10% in the four weeks to 25 December 2022, witnessing the strongest growth since February 2021 and generating record sales of €1.3 billion, according to latest data from Kantar.
Visits to the store increased by 7% in this period, while the average price per pack soared 13%, resulting in shoppers spending an additional €95.31 compared to the same period last year.
Grocery inflation reached ist highest level to 15.4% for the 12-week period ending 25 December 2022, exceeding the UK's figure of 14.2%, Kantar noted.
Emer Healy, senior retail analyst at Kantar, commented, "Christmas was certainly different this year. Even though 46.5% of shoppers claimed they would spend less than previous years, the cost-of-living crisis didn’t stop Irish families from looking for ways to keep spirits high, with the average shopper spending €58 more on groceries during December than they did last year."
The busiest shopping day of the year was 23 December, with €94.4 million going through the tills as nearly half of the population stocked up on festive treats.
This figure was €8.6 million higher than the busiest trading day of last year (Thursday, 23 December 2021).
Sales of festive treats, such as chocolate, cheese and paté rose by 9.9% and mince pies by 15.5%, but all categories saw a decline in volume.
Wine bucked the trend with volume growth of 7.3% and shoppers spending an additional €13.3 million year-on-year.
Smaller Christmas gatherings in 2020 and 2021 saw more households opting for rolled turkey, but this year 25,000 additional households bought whole turkeys, reflecting the 32% of buyers that planned on having five to seven people for Christmas dinner, Kantar added.
Sales of cold and flu products and household cleaners also increased in this period, with shoppers spending an additional €828,000 on cold treatments and €547,000 on vitamins.
Shoppers also spent €6.8 million on household and cleaning products as more people hosted guests and cleaned their homes.
Online sales increased 8.5% year-on-year in December, with shoppers spending an additional €4.7 million through the channel, which now has a share of 4.6%, up 2.5% points compared to December 2018.
Shoppers continued to opt for own-label products as they kept a close eye on their festive spending. Sales of supermarket brands increased 11.1%, well ahead of the 4.2% increase in branded product sales.
Healy explained, "The Irish grocery market is more competitive than ever before, and over the Christmas period supermarkets were keen to retain and attract shoppers with offers on their premium private label lines of festive alternatives, reaching record sales of €149.7 million."
Dunnes Stores emerged as Ireland's top retailer with a market share of 23.7% in the period, and year-on-year growth of 9.6%.
The retailer also saw the strongest growth in premium own-label offerings, up 22% year-on-year.
With a 23% market share, Tesco secured second position with growth of 8.9% year-on-year. It also registered the strongest frequency growth amongst all retailers at 10.6% year-on-year.
SuperValu's market share stood at 21% as it saw the highest number of trips to stores in this period.
The market share of Lidl was 12.2%, while its 10.1% year-on-year growth was the strongest among all retailers. This was driven by the influx of new shoppers and more trips, which contributed an additional €32.4 million to its overall performance.
Lidl also reported a record 47.2% year-on-year growth in the sales of value own-label products.
Aldi, with 11.6% of the market, grew by 7.1% year-on-year, as new shoppers and more trips contributed an additional €25.9 million.