Alcohol sales soar during lockdown as shoppers stock up

More than €1bn spent by consumers on groceries, new figures show

The overall figures show take-home grocery sales growth accelerated by 16.4 per cent during the 12 weeks.

The overall figures show take-home grocery sales growth accelerated by 16.4 per cent during the 12 weeks.


Sales of alcohol soared by 33 per cent as Irish shoppers spent more than €1 billion on groceries during the lockdown in November, latest figures from data analysts Kantar show.

The overall figures show take-home grocery sales growth accelerated by 16.4 per cent during the 12 weeks to November 29th when compared with the same period last year.

As the nationwide lockdown closed pubs and restaurants and Christmas preparations began, Irish shoppers spent over €1 billion in the grocery aisles during November alone.


Festivities were officially under way as shoppers spent an extra €82,000 on mince pies over the final four weeks. Irish brands like Keogh’s and Avonmore performed particularly strongly.

Online grocery sales continue to go from strength to strength, growing by 74.8 per cent in the past three months.

Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, said November was the busiest month for the grocers since the height of the previous national lockdown in June.

“An extra €164 million rang through the tills compared with last year as Irish shoppers readjusted to eating most of their meals at home,” she said.

“They did their best to keep spirits high though and, with the countdown to Christmas officially underway, found ways to recreate festivities at home, boosting alcohol sales by 33 per cent.

“Some were even inspired to branch out from traditional tipples and budding mixologists contributed to an extra €721,000 spent on mixers this month.

“With just a few weeks to go until the big day, Irish shopping baskets are looking distinctly festive. An additional €82,000 was spent on mince pies and sales of Christmas biscuits soared by €793,000 this November.

“Beyond the seasonal snack aisles, roast dinners were the order of the day and sales of beef grew by 19 per cent while shoppers also spent an extra €12.2 million on vegetables over the past month.”


Shoppers spent an additional €85 million on household names in the latest four weeks. Ms Healy said this was “no surprise” after a “tough year”.

“One of the positives of national and regional restrictions this year has been learning to love the world on our doorstep and to shop local,” she said.

“This has led to a rise in sales for well-loved Irish brands like Avonmore and Keogh’s, both of which put in standout performances this month, as well as Brennan’s and Denny.”

Sales of branded products over the latest 12 weeks increased by 18.6 per cent across the market but they were particularly popular with Aldi and Lidl customers, accelerating by 32 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.

Lidl achieved the strongest growth of all the grocers this period at 24.4 per cent and grew its market share by 0.8 percentage points compared with last year. Aldi saw sales increase by 14 per cent to achieve a 12 per cent market share.

Online grocery sales rose by 74.8 per cent in the latest 12 weeks as shoppers spent an additional €54.8 million compared with last year.

“Shoppers trying out online grocery shopping for the first time were a key driver of growth this period and they accounted for an additional €31.5 million spent year on year,” said Ms Healy.

“The retailers’ investment in increasing their online capacity since the start of the pandemic has paid off and people are now making bigger shops more often. As a result, customers spent an average of €103 more when shopping for groceries online than they did last year.”


Dunnes holds the biggest share of the market at 22.1 per cent this period. The grocer captured the highest spend per buyer among all the retailers, with shoppers parting with €7.76 more on average per trip than they did in the same period in 2019.

Tesco and SuperValu both experienced strong growth over the past three months of 17 per cent and 18.5 per cent respectively. SuperValu benefited from its extensive local store estate as shoppers picked up an average of 1.5 additional items per trip.

It was a similar story at Tesco, where people adding 3.5 more products to their trolleys on average helped the retailer to expand its market share to 21.5 per cent.