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Grocery sales fall as shoppers react to rising prices

Posted on: 22 Jun 2022

TAKE-HOME grocery sales fell by 6.5% in the 12 weeks to May 15, 2022, according to Kantar’s latest figures for Ireland. Irish shoppers are adjusting to increased prices as grocery inflation hits 5.5%, marking the first time it has risen above 5% since August 2013. “Food and drink prices are continuing to climb, and the impact of this on grocery budgets is now unavoidable for many people,” explains David Berry, Managing Director for Kantar Worldpanel Ireland. “Our research shows the rising cost of living is a key concern for 81% of Irish consumers (Source: data from research with 1,002 Irish consumers on behalf of Permanent TSB). A staggering 62% expect that they will have to cut back on the amount of food they buy in response to current prices. We’ll be seeing the effects of inflation for months to come.”


Shoppers are shifting their behaviour to manage the cost of buying food, including by turning to cheaper alternatives. “People are now making four fewer trips to the supermarket on average per month than they were this time last year,” David notes. “Similarly, branded items, a firm favourite when we were treating ourselves more during the Covid-19 lockdowns, previously made up more than 50% of grocery sales in 2020 and 2021. We’re now seeing clear signs that people are turning to retailers’ own label items instead, which are usually less expensive. As a result, brands’ share of grocery spend has dropped to 49% in the latest 12-week period, which is equivalent to a €29m fall.”


Despite the tough circumstances, people have been enjoying the recent warmer weather and are looking ahead to the summer months. “Shoppers have been enjoying barbecue essentials as the June bank holiday edged closer,” David says. “Sales of BBQ meats, like burgers and sausages, and prepared salads have increased by 2% and 8% respectively in the latest 12-week period. Soft drinks have also seen a 5% boost this period, equating to an extra €5m through the tills. It’s likely that sales of these items will keep rising as we make the shift to more summery foods and leave the soups and stews behind, but prices are going up too. A trip to the supermarket to buy BBQ meat, salad, and soft drinks will now cost you €1 more on average in total than it would have last year.”


For the sixth consecutive period this year, Dunnes have retained their position as Ireland’s number one retailer, claiming a 22.3% share of the market. “Sales among all the retailers are still in decline compared to lockdown last year, when people were far more reliant on supermarkets to stock up their cupboards,” David Berry reveals. “That said, Dunnes seems to be recovering well from the challenging Covid-19 period. The retailer’s current market share is now 1.2 percentage points higher than May 2021, boosted by 98,000 new shoppers in the latest 12-week period.” Tesco (21.9%) are now slightly ahead of SuperValu (21.7%) in the race for second place. Tesco benefited from shoppers visiting the store more often, bucking the general market trend and allowing them to move just ahead of SuperValu. Lidl hold a 13.1% market share this period, with Aldi following on 12.2%.