Figures from Kantar show that the Irish grocery market had its busiest ever period over the period 12 weeks to March 22nd 2020. Grocery sales reached €2.8 billion in the past 12 weeks – topping last year by €250 million and exceeding the previous peak at Christmas 2019.
The average household spent an extra €122 on groceries during the four weeks to March 22nd, with shoppers making bigger trips.
David Berry, managing director at Kantar, said that customers shopping habits had profoundly changed:
“Over the past month we have faced profound changes to our daily lives as a result of the need for social distancing, impacting the way we work, shop and socialise. Retailers and their staff have risen to an enormous challenge since restrictions on movement were announced on 12 March. They have been on the frontline as households across Ireland prepared to spend more time at home, with more mouths to feed.”
Some of the products that saw the biggest increase in sales were personal hygiene products and non-perishable food goods.
“The products demonstrating the strongest growth show a country putting health, hygiene and practicality first.,” Mr Berry explained. “Sales of hand soap rose by 300% and household cleaners were up by 170% in the four weeks to 22 March. Facial tissues and loo roll were also in demand, with sales up by 140% and 86% respectively.
“Looking at our food choices, items with a longer shelf life saw the biggest uplift, as sales of frozen and ambient foods, meaning those that can be stored at room temperature, increased by 32%,” he continued.
“By comparison, demand for fresh food has been more modest – growing by 16% over the last four weeks. While we’d expect sales to remain strong in the coming weeks and months, there will likely be a rebalancing of sales of fresh and non-perishable items as shoppers with full freezers and cupboards replenish fresh supplies.”
Mr Berry added: “All the major retailers have adapted to rapidly changing circumstances, with teams working hard to keep shelves stocked during an incredibly busy time.”
Dunnes, SuperValu and Tesco each saw sales increase by just over 10%. Dunnes’ saw an increase of 22.3%, with SuperValu and Tesco following closely at 21.3%.
Lidl was the fastest growing of all the retailers during the 12 weeks, boosting sales by 14.7% and increasing its market share to 12.3%. Aldi matched Lidl’s market share and grew sales by 11.9