New figures show that uncertainty around Christmas means shoppers are behaving differently and spent €1.8m less on tubs and tins of chocolate than this time last year.

However, the latest figures from Kantar show that consumers are still seeking out little treats, with nine out of every ten households buying chocolate almost every week over the past three months.

The Kantar figures show that grocery sales growth in Ireland slowed to 11.9% year on year during the 12 weeks to October 4.

But Kantar reported stronger growth of 12.2% over the latest four weeks, which it said suggests that people are preparing to spend more time at home in the coming months.  

"While growth over the past three months has slowed compared with the dizzying heights of lockdown, we still spent over €100m more on groceries in the past four weeks versus this time last year.  

"We expect to see a further boost in spend as restrictions tighten," commented Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar.

Kantar said that with Dublin under Level Three restrictions in recent weeks, consumer trends there could paint a picture of what is to come for the rest of the country as more measures to control the virus come into force. 

Dublin saw the strongest regional growth in the latest 12 week period under review, increasing sales by 19.4% and contributing an additional €48.2m to the total market year on year.  

Restrictions on pubs and restaurants meant sales of alcohol soared by over 53% in the past month. 

Shoppers also returned to lockdown pastimes including recreating restaurant and holiday favourites at home, with sales of international ingredients rising by 25%, Kantar said.  

Hygiene was also at the forefront of Dubliners' minds, and antiseptics and disinfectants sales were up by 67%, it noted.

Today's figures show that Dunnes expanded its online capabilities in October and joined SuperValu at the top of the table with both retailers claiming a 21.9% market share.  

Larger trips contributed an additional €63m to Dunnes' overall spend, while shoppers picking up 13.3% more items in store in SuperValu helped it to grow ahead of the market at 15.6%.

Tesco held a 20.9% market share with its growth driven by shoppers adding extra items to their baskets, with volumes up 21%. 

Kantar said that Lidl's Dublin portfolio helped it achieve the fastest growth of all the retailers this period at 19.1%, as Dublin shoppers spent an additional €57.3m in store. 

Aldi grew sales by 11%, largely driven by customers buying more and spending an average of €36.46 more per shopper in the latest 12 weeks.  

Meanwhile, Kantar also noted that online grocery sales remain high, increasing by over 75% in the four weeks to October 4. 

"Though a climbdown from the record jump of 128% that we witnessed in September, shoppers are continuing to make use of delivery services and online orders were worth an additional €18.7m this period compared with last year," Emer Healy said.