New figures from Kantar show that grocery inflation here now stands at a record high of 15.4% for the 12-week period ending December 25, 2022.
Kantar said this is higher than UK grocery price inflation which currently stands at 14.2%.
Today’s figures show that take-home grocery sales in Ireland increased by 10% in the four weeks to 25 December as the average price per pack soared 13% and visits to store increased by 7%.
The first Christmas since 2019 with no Covid-19 restrictions saw shoppers spend an additional €119m, making it a record-breaking month with sales of €1.3 billion – the strongest growth since February 2021.
Kantar noted a significant increase in average price per pack saw shoppers spend an additional €95.31 compared to the same time last year.
But while value sales were up 6.7%, grocery price inflation is the real driving factor behind this rather than increased purchasing, as volumes fell by 4%.
The average shopper spent €58 more on groceries during December than they did last year, today’s figures show.
Nearly half of the population stocked up on festive treats on Friday December 23, the busiest shopping day of the year, with €94.4m going through supermarket tills.
This was €8.6m more than the busiest trading day last year on Thursday December 23.
Sales of festive treats or niceties such as chocolate, cheese and paté rose by 9.9% and mince pies by 15.5%, but all declined in volume.
But shoppers spending an additional €13.3m year-on-year on wine with strong volume growth of 7.3%.
Kantar noted that smaller Christmas gatherings in 2020 and 2021 led to more households opting for rolled turkey.
But this year 25,000 more households tucked into whole turkeys, reflecting the 32% of buyers that planned on having five to seven people over for Christmas dinner.
Meanwhile, sales of cold and flu products, as well as household cleaners, increased as consumers here spent an additional €828,000 on cold treatments and €547,000 on vitamins.
A restriction- free Christmas also meant that more people were hosting others and cleaning their homes, resulting in shoppers spending an additional €6.8m on household and cleaning products during the latest period under review.
Emer Healy, Senior Retail Analyst at Kantar, said that even though 46.5% of buyers claimed they would spend less than previous years, the cost-of-living crisis did not stop Irish families from looking for ways to keep spirits high, with the average shopper spending €58 more on groceries during December than they did last year.
“The Irish grocery market is more competitive than ever before and over the Christmas period the supermarkets were keen to retain and attract shoppers with offers on their premium private label lines of festive alternatives, reaching record sales of €149.7m,” she added.
Online sales remained strong in December, increasing by 8.5% year-on-year, with shoppers spending an additional €4.7m.
Online share of the grocery market now sits at 4.6%, up 2.5% points compared to December 2018.
But Kantar noted that the impact of inflation is evident as the average cost of a virtual basket is now €88.79, up €11.70 compared to 2018.
Today’s Kantar figures show that Dunnes continues to hold the highest share amongst all retailers at 23.7% with growth of 9.6% on an annual basis.
Dunnes also had the strongest growth in retailer premium own label offerings, up 22% year-on-year.
Tesco holds 23% of the market with growth of 8.9% year-on-year. Tesco also has the strongest frequency growth amongst all retailers of 10.6% year-on-year.
SuperValu has 21% of the market and growth of 1.2%, registering the highest number of trips to stores at 21.
Lidl holds 12.2% share with the strongest growth amongst all retailers of 10.1% year-on-year, driven by an influx of new shoppers and more trips contributing an additional €32.4m to overall performance. It also saw the strongest growth of value own label sales, up 47.2% year-on-year.
Aldi has 11.6% of the market, growing 7.1% year-on-year, as new shoppers and more trips contributed an additional €25.9m.