Grocery spend is climbing down from the record-breaking heights we saw during lockdown, according to the latest figures from Kantar, as restrictions on movement and eating out eased.

Grocery spend of €930 million over the four weeks up to August 9, was the lowest since February.

"The relaxing of rules across much of Ireland means shoppers are less inclined to favour large, infrequent shops," said Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar. "People spent approximately €5 less per trip over the past four weeks compared with April, picking up fewer items in store as they start to return to pre-Covid-19 habits."

However, online sales continued to accelerate.  A staggering growth rate of over 125% drove online to a record market share of 4.6% of total sales this period, contributing an additional €75.1 million to the market.

"Economic uncertainty and predictions of recession have failed to dampen consumer appetite for branded groceries," Ms Healy said. "Brands have managed to capture an impressive proportion of consumer spend over the latest period, amounting to an additional €245 million and outpacing private label to grow by 23.4%.  It suggests that people are choosing to treat themselves in store with little luxuries while we're all spending more time at home."

Aldi and Lidl have both seen branded sales soar, but the retailers' reputation for value means they also stand to benefit should shoppers look to tighten their belts.  Aldi recorded strong growth of 18.4% this month.  Meanwhile it has been a busy few weeks for Lidl, which launched its rewards scheme Lidl Plus and achieved the strongest growth rate of all the major retailers this period, helping it to its highest ever market share of 12.8%. 

Summer was wet and rainy and while people holidayed in Ireland, the sales of firelighters and logs grew by 77% as people enjoyed barbecues and camp fires.
 
Hotel breakfasts were swapped for homemade alternatives and eggs, bacon and sausages all grew ahead of the market in the same period.

After months of exceptionally strong growth, take-home alcohol sales have begun to taper.  "Alcohol sales are up by 56% over the past 12 weeks, but this represents a significant slowdown from the 76% growth rate we saw last month, as people get used to new rules and are more inclined to socialise out of home," she said.

All of Ireland’s traditional retailers registered growth over the latest 12 weeks.  Buoyed by their online offers, SuperValu continues to hold the highest market share at 22.3% and Tesco took second place at 21.1%. SuperValu remains the only retailer to attract new shoppers this period, contributing an additional €624,000 to its growth.  Bigger baskets, with volumes up 25%, and higher average prices drove growth for Tesco this month. 

It was a similar story for Dunnes – the retailer again recorded the highest average spend per trip while also experiencing an increase in volumes and higher average prices to hold a 20.5% market share.