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Household grocery bills increase by €1,000 as Irish shoppers spend €2 billion extra amid pandemic

Online grocery sales had another record breaking month in February.

Image: Shutterstock/eldar nurkovic

THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD spending on groceries has increased by €1,000 this year, as figures show Irish shoppers have spent an extra €2 billion in supermarkets since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kantar has released its latest grocery figures for the period ending 21 February, and they show that take-home grocery sales grew by 16.3%.

Growth was even stronger during the past month, reaching 17.7% – the highest level since November 2020 – as shoppers spent an additional €151.1 million.

“As we approach a full year since the first national lockdown in Ireland, we can see how the months of restaurant and bar closures, working from home and home schooling have added up,” Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, said.

All those extra meals and snacks at home have led to an extra €2 billion spent on take-home groceries, including Irish shoppers splashing out €7.6 million on tea and €19.5 million on instant coffee to get their fix at home.

Online grocery sales had another record breaking month in February, accounting for 6.3% of all sales. This represents a massive increase compared with the pre-pandemic level of 2.7%.

“Lockdown may well have converted some previously reluctant digital customers long term – 241,500 people made an order in February, compared with 114,800 last year.  They are also using services more often, completing 21.7% more digital orders a month,” Healy said.

Interestingly, Covid-19 restrictions appear to have gutted the demand for cold and flu remedies, with sales of cold treatments dropping 55%, cough liquids 60% and lozenges 42% in the past 12 weeks.

The Kantar Worldpanel supermarket shares show that SuperValu is currently Ireland’s most popular supermarket. It grew its sales by 20.9% to hold a 22.3% share of the market – an increase of 0.9%.  

Screenshot 2021-03-08 at 13.21.53 Source: Kantar

Dunnes increased its sales by 9.7% as its customers picked up extra items in store and continued to spend more per buyer than at any other retailer.

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Lidl was once again the fastest growing retailer at 21.8%, with basket sizes increasing by 14.9% year on year.  Aldi customers spent an additional €57.1 million this period, resulting in 13.4% growth.

Tesco shoppers added an additional 3.6 items to their baskets this period, more than customers at any other retailer, and helped the grocer’s overall sales to rise by 18.0%.

“Children heading back to school will be welcome news for exhausted parents and will also mean demand for take-home groceries starts to ease, something that will likely accelerate once offices and restaurants return,” Healy added.

“We’ll see more typical sales patterns remerge and we’ll need to keep an eye on other metrics of performance to gauge how retailers are moving out of lockdown, including market share figures.”

Read more here on how to support a major Noteworthy project to investigate if our supermarkets are doing enough to reduce food waste.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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