Irish grocery spending among best in Europe

Irish grocery spending has increased year-on-year for the seventh consecutive quarter, making it one of the most improved in Europe.

The level of spend on Irish grocery increased 2.1% in the last three months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015.

The 2.1% rise was based on a 1.5% increase in the volume of groceries purchased and a 0.6% rise in the average prices paid.

The Irish market outperformed both Europe as a whole (1.8% rise) and the UK (0.7% rise).

The data from analysts Nielsen also found consumer confidence in Ireland at the end of 2016 was at its highest level since the recession.

It is now the sixth most confident country in Europe, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.

The Republic of Ireland’s Consumer Confidence Index score – which measures attitudes each quarter on topics including personal finances and job prospects – hit 100 in the final two quarters of 2016, the first time it’s reached this mark in nine years (Q4 2007).

A score over 100 indicates degrees of optimism, below 100, degrees of pessimism.

“Irish consumer confidence has been steadily rising for the last few years and has been stable enough to withstand recent unsettling events such as the UK Brexit and the US election,” said Matt Clark, Nielsen’s commercial director in Ireland.

“Although we’re a long way from seeing a return to the days of the Celtic Tiger, this confidence has slowly been translating into increasing spend among consumers. A good barometer of this is year-on-year grocery spend rising for seven consecutive quarters plus the volume of groceries purchased jumping by its highest level for a year.

“This provides encouraging signs for the future, particularly with a flat consumer price index and ECB interest rates remaining at a record low.”