There were early signs of Irish shoppers stocking up on hand sanitisers and bread just as official warnings about the spread of Covid-19 stepped up, according to the latest super- market spend figures.
Market researcher Kantar said that the value of sales of hand sanitisers at supermarkets jumped 15% and the sales of all liquid soaps reached €3.36m in its latest survey period.
The period covers the 12 weeks to February 23 and was well before news of the scale of deaths and quarantines emerged from northern Italy. It also showed evidence of a buying spree of staples, with market leader Dunnes posting a 15% surge in the sales of bread from a year earlier.
“News reports around coronavirus in February saw consumers take steps to ward off colds and flu, though the impact in Ireland was less pronounced than it was in Britain,” said Kantar’s Charlotte Scott.
The 15% increase in hand sanitisers marked “strong, but not dramatic, growth”, she said, but she predicted more of an uplift for hand wash products when its next figures are out for March sales.
The five largest supermarkets — Dunnes, Tesco, SuperValu, Aldi, and Lidl — gained market share at the expense of other grocery stores, which include M&S, Boots, Spar, Centra, greengrocers, butchers and cross border shops, according to the Kantar figures.
Dunnes kept its top slot with a spending share in the 12 weeks of 23.5%, ahead of Tesco and SuperValu on 21.5% and 21.4%.
Aldi and Lidl had shares of 11.6% and 11.5% in the period.
The combined market share of all other outlets fell sharply in the year to 10.5%, the Kantar figures show.
Meanwhile, Irish grocery price inflation was at an annual 1% in the 12 weeks for the 30,000 products that Kantar regularly tracks, the market researcher said.
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999