Sales down 2.2% year-on-year: Kantar
Online sales have jumped 7.1% year-on-year during the latest four weeks, while spooky season is back with a bang this year, with sales of pumpkins soaring 32.1% over the past 12 weeks versus last year
18 October 2021
Sales fell by 2.2% year-on-year in the 12 weeks ending 3 October 2021, according to the latest grocery market figures from Kantar. However, this decline reflects the fact sales are still being compared against the extraordinary levels of shopping seen during the lockdowns in 2020. In fact, spending remains 9.4% higher than in 2019.
Impact of more socialising
“It’s a nuanced picture in the grocery market at the moment,” said Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar. “The lifting of social 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% year-on- year and the amount bought per visit is also down 0.9%.”
Online sales jump
Busier routines and less time to shop in store means that many people have turned to online shopping. The latest four weeks saw online sales jump 7.1% year-on-year, adding €3 million to the market.
The further loosening of social restrictions on 22 October is not expected to herald major changes for the grocery sector. “The relaxation of restrictions in Ireland has been a gradual process and people have already been enjoying increasing freedoms, with knock-on effects at the supermarket tills,” Healy said. “We expect many office workers to continue to work flexibly, which will mean a mix of both in home and on-the-go eating at lunchtime. People are already back visiting pubs and restaurants too, so there shouldn’t be a major change in that sector either.”
Halloween looms large
Shoppers are certainly eager to make the most of relaxed restrictions to enjoy calendar milestones this year. “People will be making up for lost time with their Halloween festivities this autumn,” Healy added. “While there was no celebration in 2020, it looks like spooky season is back with a bang. Sales of pumpkins soared 32.1% over the past 12 weeks compared to last year, while sugar confectionery and share bags of chocolate are up 6.4% and 15.3% respectively, as people get ready for trick o’ treaters.”
All eyes were on the Irish economy last week as the government set out the latest budget announcement for the year ahead. Shoppers will be keen to keep a close watch on their grocery spending too – the past 12 weeks brought the highest levels of inflation in the market since March 2021. Prices are 0.6% higher than a year ago, with healthcare, hot beverages and frozen food the most affected categories – up 8.0%, 5.1% and 4.6% respectively.
Performance of each retailer
Despite prices going up, consumer confidence is high. Dunnes was the only retailer to recruit new shoppers this period as it and Tesco found favour through more premium items. “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,” said Healy. “New customers contributed an additional €26.2 million to its performance and Dunnes now accounts for 21.9% of grocery sales. Tesco’s market share increased 0.5 percentage points to 21.4% and it also enjoyed success through branded items – it saw customers spend an additional €13 million on well-known names this period.”
Meanwhile, SuperValu continues to hold the largest share of the grocery market this month at 22.3%. 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%. It grew especially well in Connaught and Ulster, with sales up 6.9%, the strongest among all retailers. Lidl held its share steady at 12.7% this period.
|* This is provided to give further context to the year-on-year growth figures, which are now comparing against the accelerated take-home sales recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic
** Includes stores such as M&S, Boots, Spar, Centra, greengrocers, butchers and cross border shops.