New figures show that the average shopper spent €134 more on groceries in December last year than they did in December the previous year.
The latest figures from Kantar show that grocery sales in Ireland rose by 17% in the 12 weeks to December 27.
A record-breaking €1.2 billion was spent on groceries in December, making it the busiest month ever as people navigated increasing lockdown restrictions and prepared for Christmas.
Wednesday December 23 was the busiest shopping day of the year when almost half of the Irish population hit the supermarkets.
But Kantar noted that overall grocery spend was more spread out during the run up to Christmas than normally seen, as consumers with more time on their hands at home took the opportunity to prepare early.
Today’s figures show that shoppers spent €1.2m less on whole turkeys over the four weeks to 27 December compared with the same time in 2019.
“The traditional turkey was off the menu for many this Christmas as lots of Irish households favoured smaller cuts of meat. In a break from the norm, we spent €938,000 more on turkey rolls, €398,000 extra on roast beef and an additional €480,000 on roast pork in December,” Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, said.
But she added that some classic festive favourites prevailed and sales of sprouts were up by 7.3% in December.
Shoppers also spent an extra €6.7m spent on chocolate confectionery his December, while they also spent €3m extra on cheese. Alcohol sales also soared by 33% over the festive period.
Today’s Kantar figures show that Dunnes continues to hold the largest portion of the grocerty market at 22.5%. It noted that shoppers spent more per trip in Dunnes than in any other retailer, helping the grocer to grow its overall sales by 11.4%.
Boosted by their strong online presence, Tesco and SuperValu share the position of Ireland’s second biggest grocer with both holding a 22.1% market share.
Shoppers visiting SuperValu more frequently, adding up to an extra 730,000 trips, helped the retailer to grow ahead of the market and narrow the gap with Dunnes. Meanwhile, consumers making bigger shops was the key driver of Tesco’s strong growth over the past 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, Lidl stood out among the retailers as the fastest growing grocer during the latest period under review, with its success starting in the alcohol aisles where sales grew by 70% in the three months leading up to Christmas. Overall Lidl gained 0.9 percentage points of share this period.
Branded sales were particularly strong at Aldi, where shoppers spent an additional €11.6m on well-known labels during the 12 weeks to December 27. Aldi holds an 11.2% share of the market this period and increased its sales by 16.4% year on year.
Today’s figure also show that Irish households spent €133m through digital channels over the past 12 weeks.
“The popularity of online grocery shopping is no flash in the pan, and digital orders accounted for 4.1% of all grocery sales in December. That figure was only 2.8% in December 2019, hammering home an impressive year in terms of sales and capacity growth,” Ms Healy said.
“New shoppers continue to make the move online, and we expect digital sales to go from strength to strength in the year ahead,” she added.