Irish shoppers have turned to online grocery orders as social calendars have filled and there is less time to shop in-store, according to consulting company Kantar.
The latest grocery market figures from the company show sales fell by 2.2 per cent year-on-year in the 12 weeks ending October 3rd 2021.
The decline reflects the fact sales are still being compared against the “extraordinary” levels of shopping seen during the lockdowns in 2020, Kantar said, adding that spending remains 9.4 per cent higher than in 2019.
As Covid restrictions have eased and the pace of life has picked up, Kantar said online grocery sales have increased by 7.1 per cent in the latest four weeks, adding €3 million to the market.
Retail analyst at Kantar Emer Healy said the lifting of restrictions and high vaccination rates “mean shoppers are more comfortable going out and visiting physical stores, but they also mean people’s social calendars are filling up again.”
“More socialising means we’re living less regimented lives, and with more eating at restaurants, pubs and on the go, the reliance which many had on supermarkets to get their meals last year is starting to fade.
“That is evidenced in the latest four week ending data, which shows supermarket trips are falling by 4.5 per cent year-on-year and the amount bought per visit is also down 0.9 per cent.”
Inflation at highest since March
Kantar said the past 12 weeks brought the highest levels of inflation in the market since March 2021. Prices are 0.6 per cent higher than a year ago, with healthcare, hot beverages and frozen food the most affected categories – up eight per cent, 5.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively.
Despite prices going up, consumer confidence is high, the consulting firm added. Dunnes was the only retailer to recruit new shoppers this period.
“Dunnes typically has its most successful months in the autumn as shoppers favour branded items and take shelter from the elements in its shopping centre locations. New customers contributed an additional €26.2 million to its performance and Dunnes now accounts for 21.9 pr cent of grocery sales,” Ms Healy said.
“Tesco’s market share increased 0.5 percentage points to 21.4 per cent and it also enjoyed success through branded items – it saw customers spend an additional €13 million on well-known names this period.”
SuperValu meanwhile continues to hold the largest share of the grocery market this month at 22.3 per cent. Its shoppers visited more frequently than any other retailer – on average 21 times in the past 12 weeks.
Aldi was boosted by store openings across the country and welcomed a second consecutive month with a record-breaking share – now at 12.8 per cent. Lidl held its share steady at 12.7 per cent this period.