Christmas spending splurge lifts grocery spend to over €10.8 billion for 2018

The five largest supermarkets tapped the lion’s share of the €10.85bn spent last year on groceries, an increase of 2.8% from 2017.

The new figures from researcher Kantar Worldpanel cover the important Christmas trading period and also suggest that price inflation has re-emerged on the Irish grocery market landscape.

Prices of 30,000 grocery items rose at an annual rate of over 1.5% during the Christmas period, the fastest rate since September 2016.

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That was just before Irish consumers started to benefit from sharply lower prices following the slump in the value of sterling against the euro in the wake of the UK’s Brexit referendum.

With so many grocery items imported from Britain, Irish grocery items should fall in periods when the euro climbs against sterling.

Kantar said the Irish grocery market spending increased “by an impressive 3%” from a year earlier to a record €2.72bn, in the 12 weeks to the end of December.

The latest figures also show €995m was spent in the single month of December.

Dunnes, for a second year, secured the largest share of the Christmas spending, winning 23% of the €2.72bn spent in the full 12 weeks. Despite giving up some ground since Christmas 2017, Tesco Ireland kept its second place with a share of 22.3%.

With a share of 21.8%, Musgrave-owned SuperValu was the third largest supermarket in terms of Christmas spend, but it too lost share from a year earlier.

Aldi Ireland, which had revealed its very strong Christmas figures last week, posted the largest growth spurt of the big five supermarkets and gained market share.

Its Christmas market share of 10.8% compares with direct rival Lidl, which also grew strongly to win 10.5% of the Christmas spending.

On Dunnes, Kantar Worldpanel said it was the store’s largest share since 2013, helped by an outsized performance in Dublin.

Tesco tapped buoyant sales for its private label ranges, while SuperValu performed well in fresh food, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

On Aldi and Lidl, “own label products still account for the majority of both retailers’ sales, but it was the premium end of these lines which recorded the strongest growth,” said Kantar director Douglas Faughnan.

“Similarly, sales of branded goods accounted for more than 40% of the growth achieved for both Aldi and Lidl — testament to the popularity of their ever-expanding ranges,” he said.

The five largest supermarkets account for almost 88.5% of all the grocery spending over Christmas.

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