Month-long celebrations drive Irish grocery sales up with highest footfall since March 2020

Irish shoppers took advantage of St Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year to celebrate the long weekend in style, resulting in a 10.4% boost to sales in March.
03 April 2023
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Emer Healy 2020

Business Development Manager, Worldpanel Division , Ireland

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Take-home grocery sales in Ireland increased in the four weeks to 19 March 2023, according to our latest data, thanks to a month of celebrations including Mother’s Day, St Patricks Day and the Irish rugby team winning the Six Nations Grand Slam. Value grocery sales increased by 13.3%, up from 10.2% in February, as the average price per pack increased by 13.8%. March was a busy month for Irish consumers with plenty of events and opportunities to celebrate. We also welcomed longer, brighter days so we saw shoppers visiting stores more often. Shopper visits grew 13% year-on-year, which is the highest level of footfall since March 2020. In actual terms this means shoppers made two additional trips to stores in March. 

Although value sales are up significantly, grocery price inflation is still the driving factor rather than just increased spending. Grocery inflation continues to rise and now stands at 16.8%, with the annual grocery bill set to rise by €1,211 if consumers don’t make changes to their shopping habits.

In the 12 weeks to 19 March 2023 take-home grocery sales increased by 9.5%, contributing an additional €268m to the overall market performance, as shoppers returned to store more often (up 7.7%) and average price per pack increased by 13.9% year-on-year. 

Consumers are opting to shop little and often to help manage their household budgets. Basket mission really drives growth for the overall market – up 25.1% – with shoppers spending an additional €119.6m year-on-year. The indulgent mission grew 17.7% year-on-year, as shoppers made more indulgent trips in line with the festivities in March.

Celebrating rugby and St Patrick’s with Guinness and snacks 

Irish shoppers took advantage of St Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year to celebrate the long weekend in style, resulting in a 10.4% boost to sales in March. Sales of Guinness were up 6.7%, equating to an additional €623,000, with one in 10 Irish households purchasing the beverage in March. With many tuning in to watch Ireland win the rugby Grand Slam at home, Irish supporters also consumed more savoury snacks and soft drinks, with sales hitting €3.5m and €4.4m respectively. 

March also saw shoppers stocking up on Easter essentials, growing an additional 20% on Easter chocolate. Large eggs proved to be most popular, with sales up an impressive 86% year-on-year and shoppers spending an additional €3.8m. 

Own label continues to out-perform brands, while online sales stay buoyant 

The Irish market continues to see much stronger own label growth (13.5%) than brands (6.2%) as shoppers look for ways to save money. Value own label saw the strongest growth (34.5%) year-on-year with shoppers spending €18m more on these ranges. Own label now holds a higher value share than brands – 47.3% compared to 47%.

Online sales also remained strong over the 12-week period, up 2.6%, with shoppers spending an additional €3.9m online year-on-year. More frequent trips (4%) and higher average prices (15.5%) helped to drive growth. 

Irish retailer performance update

Each of the major retailers continue to see positive results, with sales growth accelerating from February to March.

Dunnes holds the highest share amongst all retailers at 23.2%, with growth of 13.4% year-on-year. This growth stems from an influx of new shoppers to store, up 1.3 percentage points, and shoppers returning more often to store, up 4.7%. Tesco holds 22.1% of the market with growth of 13.6% year-on-year, and the strongest frequency growth amongst all retailers, up 12.8%.  

SuperValu holds 20.6% of the market and growth of 4.2%, with shoppers making the most trips in store when compared to all retailers, with an average of 21.7 trips over the 12-week period, an increase of 12.1% year-on-year.  

Lidl holds 13.3% share and growth of 11.7% year-on-year. An influx of new shoppers and more frequent trips contributed an additional €25.2m to overall performance. Aldi holds 12.3% share with growth of 9.1% year-on-year, welcoming a boost in new shoppers and more frequent trips contributed an additional €40.1m to overall performance.   

DataViz Ireland_P3_2023

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