Irish shoppers spend an extra €92m over Christmas period

Kantar Worldpanel figures put Supervalu back in top spot, just ahead of Dunnes Stores

Irish shoppers spent an additional €92 million on groceries over the Christmas period, 3.8 per cent more than last year, figures from Kantar Worldpanel show.

The latest Kantar figures, which cover the 12 weeks up to January 1st, also show Supervalu regaining top spot from Dunnes Stores as the Republic's largest supermarket, with a market share of 22.8 per cent.

Aldi, meanwhile, posted the strongest growth of all the retailers, with sales up by 5.3 per cent over the Christmas period.

Aldi Ireland group buying director Finbar McCarthy said there were strong sales across its 300 seasonal products.


“Sales across our specially selected range increased over 30 per cent year-on-year for Christmas 2016,” he said.

The supermarket sold more than 3 million mince pies, 200,000 bags of chocolate coins, 170,000 Irish steaks, 70,000 litres of prosecco, 60,000kgs of Christmas pudding, 30,000 Irish lamb legs and 6,500 litres of champagne during the period.

“This was Aldi Ireland’s busiest Christmas ever as we welcomed thousands of new customers to our stores,” he said. “We attracted 37,000 new customers in December 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.”

Extra days

With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday in 2016, shoppers had two extra days to complete their shopping lists.

Having additional shopping time in the build-up to Christmas meant that the average household spent was €193 on the big day, €35 more than last year.

Despite the extra shopping days, 55 per cent of the population still chose to brave the supermarkets on Friday, December 23rd, making it the busiest day for retailers.

The Kantar figures show Dunnes returning to second place, with a market share of 22.7 per cent.

The retailer, however, continued to perform well with sales for the Christmas period up almost 5 per cent higher than in 2015.

The average spend per trip by Dunnes shoppers also reached a new high of €41.60, significantly ahead of any other retailer.

With a market share 22.4 per cent, Tesco saw the value of Christmas sales jump 1.3 per cent with its premium own-label products experiencing strong growth over the festive period.

New shoppers

Elsewhere, Aldi managed to attract 37,000 new shoppers this Christmas, boosting its market share to 10.5 per cent while fellow discounter Lidl also recorded positive results, with festive sales 2.3 per cent higher than in 2015, resulting in a market share of 10.3 per cent.

"After a turbulent 2016, shoppers really chose to treat themselves this Christmas," David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said.

“ Irish families spent 9 per cent more on seasonal confectionery than last year, making sure they had plenty of sweet treats to keep them going over the festive period.

“ More were in the mood for a Christmas tipple too, with alcohol experiencing double-digit growth. This was partially down to more multibuy promotions in stores tempting shoppers to up their spend,” he added.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times