Bumper Christmas for grocers as shoppers splurge almost €1bn

Dunnes Stores keeps top spot but Lidl and Aldi see greatest market-share growth

 Dunnes Stores held on to the largest market share at the end of 2018 as shoppers spent just under €1 billion on groceries in the run up to Christmas.

Dunnes Stores held on to the largest market share at the end of 2018 as shoppers spent just under €1 billion on groceries in the run up to Christmas.

 

Consumer Affairs Correspondent and Francess McDonnell

Irish shoppers spent just under €1 billion on groceries in the run up to Christmas, with Dunnes Stores once more finishing on top in the endless store wars.

The popularity of classic Christmas staples soared, with mince pie sales rising by more than 10 per cent and seasonal biscuit ranges growing by 11 per cent. Shoppers spent almost €2 million on Christmas puddings alone.

The latest grocery-market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to December 30th show that shoppers spent a record €995 million in December.

The fact that Christmas Day fell on a Tuesday proved fruitful for retailers, as the full trading weekend before the big day helped them to grow by an impressive 3 per cent, ensuring a record festive period for retailers.

Shoppers spent an average of €694 on groceries in December – €151 more than in a typical month, with Dunnes Stores capturing the highest market share for the second year in a row, taking 23 per cent of sales.

Tesco and Supervalu recorded market shares of 22.3 per cent and 21.8 per cent respectively.

Aldi and Lidl were the strongest performing retailers over the 12-week period, with growth of 8.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively, meaning both retailers achieved their highest ever Christmas share to date. Lidl had 10.5 per cent of the market while Aldi had 10.8 per cent.

“Irish shoppers showed a willingness to splash out over the festive break,” said Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel. “Branded and premium private label ranges grew by 3.8 per cent and 11.2 per cent respectively as shoppers spoiled themselves over Christmas.

“The market also benefited from continued inflation, with prices up 1.6 per cent compared with last year.”

Saturday, December 22nd was the most popular day for Christmas grocery shopping with shoppers spending an additional €25 million compared with the previous Saturday, making it the biggest trading day of the year. A total of €75 million went through tills over the 24 hours.

In Northern Ireland, the Kantar end-year report shows that Lidl was the fastest growing supermarket in the North during 2018 but Tesco retained its number-one slot, with a third of overall sales.

Sainsburys share of the market fell though it is still the second largest player in the local market. Total grocery sales grew by 1.2 per cent last year.