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With Brexit continuing to dominate the news and the impact of a hard border still unclear, the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel show the value of cross-border shopping is at its highest level for five years.  €64.5 million was spent shoppers from the Republic of Ireland in the 12 months ending in November 2018.

Over the past year just over one in eight households from the Republic of Ireland made at least one trip north of the border to do a grocery shop.  That equates to more than 207,000 shoppers” says Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“While these excursions account for a relatively small percentage of each family’s supermarket visits – on average, eight out of 270 annual trips – they spend substantially more when they cross the border.  Shoppers from the Republic spent €38.50 on an average shop in Northern Ireland while the average spend back home is €23.70. This is likely to be because they want to make the extra effort worthwhile.”

One of the biggest attractions for shoppers looking for a cross-border bargain is alcohol. Douglas Faughnan explains: “Of the €65 million spent by Republic of Ireland shoppers in Northern Ireland over the past year, a quarter went on alcohol, adding up to just over €16 million.  No other food or drink category comes close, with dairy products accounting for the next largest share of cross-border spend, at 5.9%.”

The strength of the euro against sterling over the past two years has made cross-border shopping even more appealing, but there have been benefits for those spending in the Republic as well. Douglas Faughnan explains: “The cost of importing products to Ireland from Britain has fallen while goods made in Ireland with British ingredients have typically been cheaper to produce.  This has allowed retailers to pass savings on to their customers – vital in such a competitive market – and as a result,  grocery prices in Ireland have for the most part been falling since March 2017.”

“However, for only the second time in 21 months, grocery prices have increased, suggesting the prolonged period of grocery price deflation may be coming to an end.”

Halloween provided €30m boo-st 

The four week run up to Halloween generated an uplift of almost €30 million for supermarkets.  Supplies for parties and trick or treating were in high demand with confectionery sales up 4% compared with the same period last year. 17% of Irish households bought a pumpkin this Halloween, spending a collective €1.5 million on the seasonal vegetable.

Faughnan says: “With Halloween wrapped up and the arrival of the much-anticipated Christmas TV adverts this week, Irish shoppers are already getting excited for the festive season.  In fact, more than 50,000 people had already bought a Christmas pudding by the 4th November.

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