Returning to old habits: Online sales down 12% at supermarkets

Latest data from Kantar shows SuperValu is the largest retailer with 22.5% market share

Online sales at Ireland’s supermarkets dropped by 12.3 per cent in the past four weeks as people edged back to their pre-pandemic routines, the latest data from Kantar shows.

The latest figures show that Irish grocery sales dipped by 2.3 per cent in the 12 weeks to September 5th, but still remain 11.1 per cent higher than the same period in 2019.

Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, said: “While we’re a way off a full return to normality, there are winds of change and people are becoming more comfortable heading out and about.

“An extra 189,000 trips were made to the supermarket over the past three months, driven by shoppers running out for one or two items at a time rather than relying on a big weekly shop like they did during the height of lockdowns.


“It suggests that the high vaccination levels across the country are helping to boost consumers’ confidence.

“We’re also seeing shoppers choosing to visit bigger stores rather than smaller convenience retailers on their doorstep. That’s been good news for Ireland’s largest grocers as all of the big five gained market share this period for the first time since 2010.”


Strong performances for bricks-and-mortar stores meant online sales dropped by 12.3 per cent in the past four weeks. “Online grocery shopping has taken a backseat this month as people return to workplaces, education, and eating out,” said Ms Healy.

“As a result, digital grocery shops shrunk by an average of four items over the course of the latest four weeks. However, we expect this decline to soften in the coming months as shoppers find their feet in their new routines.

“It’s been a busy time for Irish households all over the country and preparing meals from scratch, a popular pandemic pastime, has slipped down the agenda.

“Shoppers switched home cooking staples for more time efficient options, spending €7.5 million more on chilled convenience items like pizzas and ready meals over the past four weeks.

“Parents were also stocking up on lunch box favourites like children’s biscuits, bread and cooked meats, which grew by 11.3 per cent, 7.6 per cent and 14.6 per cent respectively.”

New shoppers

Dunnes Stores saw the greatest influx of new shoppers among all the retailers as it edged up 5.3 per cent, which contributed 32 million to its sales.

Dunnes was tied with Tesco for the title of second-largest grocer, and both hold a 21.4 per cent share of the market this period.

Tesco, which gained 0.4 percentage points of share, was particularly successful in terms of growth for brands, which grew by 2.9 per cent to buck the overall market decline in branded sales this period.

Aldi achieved its highest ever market share this period at 12.7 per cent. It gained a significant number of new shoppers over the past three months, which increased its sales by €1.6 million year on year. Lidl holds a 12.8 per cent market share this period.

SuperValu is the largest retailer and holds a 22.5 per cent share of the market. This was driven by consumers visiting the store 7 per cent more often than they did last year.

That was the highest shopper frequency among all the retailers, which led to a sales boost of €43 million for the grocer.

Grocery market inflation stands at 0.3 per cent for the 12-week period ending September 5th.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter