Northern Ireland shoppers visiting the supermarket more often, but are picking up fewer groceries

Growth within Northern Ireland's grocery market slowed to 0.7 per cent in the past year, according to Kantar
Ryan McAleer

NORTHERN Ireland shoppers are picking up fewer groceries during trips to the supermarket, but are making more visits, the latest industry data suggests.

Supermarket monitor Kantar said north’s grocery market slowed to 0.7 per cent in the past year, with the volume of sales falling by 0.4 per cent in the year to October 6 2019.

Asda and Sainsbury the only major multiples to record a drop in the value of sales recorded.

Tesco remains the biggest player in the north’s grocery trade, holding a 35.1 per cent share of total take home grocery market, albeit marginally down by 0.1 per cent on last year.

Lidl continues its fast growth trend, with the German retailer's total share now up to 6.1 per cent. Significantly, the value of sales recorded by Lidl has increased by 6.6 per cent, well ahead of any other major multiple.

Kantar said the average price paid at tills increased by 2p per pack over the 52 weeks.

Consumer insight director Charlote Scott said while shoppers are picking up fewer items during each visit to the supermarket, this was offset slightly by the fact they made 12 extra trips on average than last year.

“Tesco’s position has improved slightly compared with last month – increasing share to 35.1 per cent – and, with sales up 0.5 per cent, it is once again the only big three retailer to achieve growth.

"Tesco is following a similar trend to the overall market, with the average number of items bought per trip down by 14.2 per cent, although shoppers made an additional nine trips to the retailer in the past 52 weeks.

"Impressively, despite nearly all of Northern Irish households already buying something from Tesco during the course of a year, it has increased this further to 94.6 per cent."

Commenting on the decline of sales at Sainbury's and Asda, Ms Scott said Sainsbury's had managed to increase its penetration of households by 4.6 per cent over the past 12 months, with 71 per cent of households in the north visiting the retailer during the past year.

She said whileAsda attempted to encourage its customers to visit more often, it couldn’t convince them to pick up more items while they were there. The retailer’s penetration dropped by 0.2 percentage points to 79.7 per cent.

“Lidl is once again the only retailer to increase its market share this period compared with this time last year, gaining 0.3 percentage points," said the industry analyst.

"Sales were up 6.6 per cent, driven by an 8.3 per cent increase in the average spend per trip and finding more customers – serving 75.6 per cent of Northern Irish shoppers in the past 12 months.”

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