Grocery spend in Ireland hit €1.2 billion in the four weeks to 29th December 2019, as Irish shoppers spent an additional €32.5 million over the Christmas period in comparison to the same time last year, reveals new data released today from Nielsen.
Thanks to Christmas falling on a Wednesday, the Irish market experienced a sharp 15.3% increase in grocery sales closer to Christmas day, in comparison to the same period in 2018.
As a result, over the four weeks to 29 December, Irish shoppers over the four week period spent 2.7% more on groceries than they did during Christmas 2018.
This incremental spend saw the average grocery spend per week per household increase from €165 to €182 per week in December 2019.
The best performing category was chilled groceries, which showed a 4.2% increase and gained €9 million in sales in the last four weeks, as well as frozen which increased by 4.3% and bakery was up by 4.1% and confectionary increased by 3%.
“The Irish market has benefited from a strong festive sales boost over the Christmas 2019 period, with shoppers spending an additional €32.5m in comparison to Christmas 2018," Karen Mooney, Ireland market leader at Nielsen, said.
"However, there also appears to be a shift in shopping behaviour, as Irish consumers opted to spend less on alcohol and more on low or no alcohol products, which could be a reflection on wellness trends."
Alcohol Sales Fall
Alcohol, which is usually an area of strong growth over the Christmas period, saw a 2.9% decline, with sparkling wine and champagne experiencing collectively showing an 11.3% decline.
Total beer value sales also declined over the four week period, ale fell by 2.8%, lager showed a 3.3% decrease, cider fell by 4.5% and stout showed a 6.8%, during the period.
On the other hand, whiskey which grew by 4.3% was the only product within the spirits category in which sales grew, while gin - which experienced a 29% growth in 2018 - fell by 0.3%.
In contrast, sales in non alcoholic and low alcoholic beer showed a 27.2% increase. in comparison to December 2018, valuing the market at €795k in the last four weeks to 29th December.
In terms of retailers, combined market share for the discounters Aldi and Lidl increased by 4.5%, whilst multiple retailers, which include Tesco, Supervalu, Eurospar and M&S saw an overall small 0.2% value decline.
However, sales at the discounters and multiples picked up pace in the two weeks to 29th December, with sales growing by 5.5% and 2.7% respectively.
Meanwhile, convenience stores showed a 5.1% growth in the last four weeks, in comparison to a 2% lift for the last 52 weeks.
During the period, the research shows that Pet food experienced a 5.2% uplift.
"Irish consumers may have shifted spend in other areas, choosing to invest heavily in their pets this Christmas," Mooney concluded.
"This is a reflection on consumer trends towards pet humanisation, as we look to treat our pets more as family members and spend more on them.”
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.