Although alcohol sales showed growth of 18% year-on-year, this growth was behind the growth in other categories although it appeared to be steadily growing week-on-week, up 33%, reported Nielsen.
“As Irish shoppers lose out on their usual cafe orders, tea and coffee sales will likely climb as will alcohol sales following the closure of pubs,” claimed Nielsen’s Karen Mooney.
Outside this category grocery sales increased by 23% in comparison with the same time last year and by 16% when compared to the previous week.
The increase was attributed to increased stockpiling – ‘panic buying’ – resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak as Irish shoppers shifted their grocery shopping patterns from ‘pantry preparation’ to ‘preparing for quarantined living’, reported Nielsen.
At €363 million, the spend was only €3m below last year’s key Christmas trading week ending 22nd December 2019 and equated to an average spend of €214 in that week per household (versus an average weekly spend of €176 in 2019).
Consumers were ‘prepping’ their home environments for a lengthy stay indoors with the household category growing by 81% to €18.6 million.
Meanwhile, ambient groceries – shelf-stable food – grew by over three quarters (76%) to €37.2 million, over €16 million higher when compared to the same week in 2019.
Hand sanitiser continued to fly off the shelves with an enormous 2,412% growth when compared with the same week last year and 67% growth from the previous week – with a total spend of €188,000 on hand sanitiser alone – this despite shortages across Ireland.
Panic buying also continued to impact toilet roll purchases with sales growing by 181% to reach €5.4 million (outpacing the same week in 2019 by €3.5m).
Other products in the category seeing a lift in sales versus last year included soap (552%), disinfectant liquids (348%), rubber gloves (306%) and vitamins & minerals, sales of which were up by 224%.
In the US, off-trade alcohol sales grew 55% in the week to 21st March year-on-year with wine sales up 66% and beer up 34% according to Nielsen.
Consumers stocking up for the lockdown bought the larger beer pack formats with sales of 24-packs up by 90% and 30-packs saw a sales rise of 87% in the US.
Twelve-pack lagers grew 61% and even six-pack sales were up 16%.
However online sales were “out of the park – up 243% vs the same period a year ago,” according to Danny Brager, Nielsen’s Senior Vice President of Beverage Alcohol.
Online alcohol sales were dominated by wine which accounted for around 71% of total online alcohol sales, with spirits accounting for 20%.