Weekly sales of alcohol “surged” to €35.8 million, up by 4.3% in the week to 22nd March compared to the previous week ending 15th March.
“This rise in alcohol sales comes amidst the St Patrick’s Day bank holiday, Mother’s Day and the first full week of pub closures as Irish consumers continued to celebrate from a distance,” states Nielsen.
With more non-essential businesses closing and more time spent at home, Nielsen data also show that Irish shoppers are now trading up to more premium products as they try to bring cafe, pub and restaurant experiences indoors, with shoppers spending more on products such as instant coffee – which has an average spend of €3.43 per unit, compared to €3.24 in 2019 (up 5.8%). The same can be said for wine (up 5.1%) to €11.47 per litre and take-home ice-cream (up 8.6%) to €2.77.
The decline in grocery sales versus the previous week suggests that stockpile shopping related to Covid-19 may have reached its peak.
The previous week ending 15th March witnessed a stockpiling peak as people prepared for quarantine living, states Nielsen.
“A week on and Irish shoppers are entrenched in the restricted living phase which has rightly caused a slowdown on panic-buying as shoppers use up their stockpiled supplies with many shoppers now unwilling or unable to go out.
“This slowdown in panic-buying was seen across major categories such as household (-17%), ambient (shelf-stable) groceries (-17%) and health and beauty (-21%).
“Popular ‘stockpiling’ products such as hand sanitisers (-48%), toilet tissue (-41%), soap (-39%) and pasta (-32%) all also saw a decline compared to the previous week. Alcohol was the only category to experience growth,” stated Nielsen.
“With many Irish shoppers having already stocked up on their essential items during the last few weeks, we’re now seeing the first signs of sales stabilising across the Irish supermarkets,” said Karen Mooney, Ireland Market Leader at Nielsen, “The significant rise in alcohol sales over the last week shows that Irish consumers are not letting the pandemic and the closure of pubs stop them from celebrating the festivities they would have enjoyed around our national holiday, St Patrick’s Day.”
Irish shoppers are also showing an increased interest in purchasing branded products, with value sales of branded household items in the last four weeks up by 65% compared to the same period in 2019, outpacing the sales of supermarket private label items (32%).
“Irish shoppers are also keen to maintain their lifestyles and still looking to enjoy daily luxuries by trading up to more premium products to match the quality and experience of a coffee stop or restaurant,” explained Karen Mooney, “New shopper trends, such as the preference for premium and branded products are likely to continue over the next few weeks as shoppers adjust to this ‘new normal’,” she added.