Irish supermarkets are looking forward to a very happy Christmas, with spending set to top €1.4 billion for the first time, new figures from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel suggest.
The data also points to a continuing fall in grocery inflation, with the speed at which prices are increasing declining for the seventh successive month.
According to Kantar, the current rate of inflation is 8.6 per cent – almost half the rate recorded earlier this year and down more than 1 per cent in four weeks.
The research points to a “record-breaking festive period, with shoppers spending an unprecedented amount at supermarkets this Christmas”, said Kantar’s Emer Healy.
“It’s always a bumper time for Irish grocers, with consumers buying on average 11 per cent more items than in a typical month,” she said. “The Irish grocery landscape is as competitive as ever, with retailers continuing to battle it out to offer the best value to consumers by keeping prices competitive.”
She noted that the cost of a Christmas dinner for four has risen by 3.2 per cent, which is “well below the overall average growth in price per pack, with some festive items even falling in price. Brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding are down, 0.6 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, compared to last year so there’s no excuse for consumers not to enjoy them this festive season.”
The busiest day of the year is likely to be Saturday December 23rd, with spending set to be close to €100 million.
Ms Healy noted that while inflation of 8.6 per cent is still “incredibly high”, it is the seventh month in a row that there has been a drop in grocery inflation.
“This is good news for consumers, although the rate is still incredibly high. Compared to last month’s inflation rate of 9.8 per cent, there has been a significant drop of 1.2 percentage points, the lowest level we have seen since August 2022. We expect to see this gradual decline in inflation rates continue over the coming months.
The percentage of packs sold on promotion rose by 1.9 per cent compared to last month. It currently stands at 26.7 per cent, up 15.3 per cent year-on-year, with Dunnes, SuperValu and Tesco all seeing strong growth in sales on promotion.
Own-label goods continue to be popular, with sales up 10.4 per cent in the latest 12 weeks, but they saw a slight 0.4 percentage point decrease on last month.
“Retailers are pushing own-label lines and promotions to get Irish shoppers through the door,” Ms Healy said. “However, it seems that consumers are also reaching for branded goods as they look to indulge over the festive season.”
She noted that branded seasonal biscuits and take-home confectionery were proving particularly popular, up 12.9 per cent and 12.4 per cent respectively, and growing faster than the overall branded market.
Dunnes hit a new record share of 24.2 per cent of the market while Tesco is on 23 per cent. SuperValu holds 20.6 per cent of the market.
Lidl holds 13.2 per cent while Aldi holds 11.7 per cent of the market.