By Eamon Quinn and Pádraig Hoare
Irish shoppers are on course to spend over €10.9bn this year on groceries — up €420m on 2017 — based on trends over the early months.
According to Kantar Worldpanel Ireland, the amount spent in supermarkets and grocery chains in the 12 weeks to late February in the Republic totalled €2.56bn. That’s 3.9% more than was spent in the same period a year earlier, and comes after prices across 30,000 Irish grocery items monitored by Kantar Worldpanel were all but unchanged in the year — posting a small decline of 0.1%.
Last year, shoppers spent a total of €10.49bn across the big five supermarket chains and the smaller independent grocers.
That amount includes home groceries only, while goods bought for on-the-go consumption are not included, the researcher said.
In the latest survey, Dunnes, which had attracted more business over the hard-fought Christmas period, retained its top slot.
It secured a 23.1% share of the €2.56bn spend over the 12 weeks, despite a large growth spurt for Tesco, which won 22.3% of the market.
SuperValu, in third place, was close behind with a share of 22%.
And Lidl and Aldi competed for shares of 10.8% and 10.6%, respectively.
“Having previously reported a decline in sales, Aldi’s performance is back on track.
Sales have increased by 1.3% and market share stands at 10.6% — just 0.2 percentage points behind Lidl,” Kantar said.
The big five account for 88.8% of all grocery spend in the Republic — amounting to over €2.25bn in the latest survey period.
The survey of 5,000 households showed that “other outlets” such as the branded independent chains had a share of 11.2%
“Shoppers have spent an additional €96m on groceries over the latest 12 weeks compared to last year and two factors have led to this growth,” said David Berry at Kantar.
“First, shoppers are choosing to buy slightly more expensive items and this is reflected in continued sales growth for brands. Second, customers have picked up more items during their weekly shop, with the cost of the average trip 60c more than this time last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Irish households increased their spending on all types of goods and services, while spending in the UK went into reverse, according to Visa.
There was an almost 4.5% increase in Irish household expenditure in February compared with a year earlier, while UK households tightened their belts for the ninth time in 10 months, recording a more than 1% drop in spending.
Irish retailers once again saw an improvement in face-to-face transactions, while household goods were the most popular among consumers. Household goods saw growth of more than 11% year-on-year — the fourth month in a row of double-digit expansion.
The almost 6% growth in spending on food and drink was the fastest since April 2017, while there were also similar rises in spending transport and communication, recreation, hotels, bars, and restaurants.
Visa country manager Philip Konopik said Valentine’s Day was an important factor in driving spend in February but warned the impact of Storm Emma would dampen growth in March.