Ireland flag Ireland: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Ireland

Evolution of the Sector
The Irish retail market is made up of small and family owned stores. There are approximately 37,400 active wholesale and retail enterprises across the country (of these, 85% have less than 10 employees). The number of discount firms continues to increase, and the number of self-service stores is rising steadily. Self-service is not confined to small merchandising units. Department stores and gas stations also have incorporated this sales technique into their operations.

According to Retail Ireland, the wholesale and retail sector is the country’s largest employer with 280,000 jobs, accounting for 14% of total employment. Data from the Central Statistics Office shows that the volume of retail sales increased by 0.6% in March 2022 when compared to February 2022 on a seasonally adjusted basis. On an annual basis, retail volumes were 2.9% higher in March 2022 compared with the same period one year earlier. The value of retail sales increased by 0.3% in the month and grew by 4.8% on an annual basis.

E-commerce is growing faster than traditional retail, a trend that was accelerated by the COVID-19 epidemic and the restrictive measures that followed in the spring of 2020. However, as the volume of in-person shopping increased with shops reopening, the proportion of total retail sales transacted online has fallen from the high of 15.3% recorded in April 2020 to 5% in March 2022. According to Retail Ireland, the proportion of Irish consumers who frequently shop online increased to over 50% in recent years. The organic sector is also growing, as 47% of consumers are prepared to pay a premium for organic products (Bord Bia).

Market share

There are five main grocery retailers in Ireland in the supermarkets channel:

  • Dunnes stores held 22.4% of the market share in 2022 (Kantar World Panel)
  • Musgrave Group, with SuperValu supermarkets (21.6%)
  • Tesco, with the same brand name stores (21.3%)
  • German discounter Lidl (13%)
  • Aldi (12.4%)
Retail Sector Organisations
Retail Ireland - Representative body for the entire retail industry in Ireland

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Latest Update: June 2022

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