The over 65s are returning to shops, leading a general return to shopping more often and in person for groceries.
Data from the grocery trade suggests the vaccine rollout is being followed by a return of shoppers to physical stores.
The numbers show over 65s leading the return to shopping in person. Older shoppers increased their visits to bricks-and-mortar stores by 13.7pc in the 12 weeks to April 18.
That was well ahead of the increase in the wider population going back to physical shopping.
The latest figures from data provider Kantar’s regular survey of the grocery market show growth in Ireland slowed to 1.9pc in the 12 weeks ending April 18.
In the most recent four weeks of the period, sales were down compared with the same time last year, but spring of 2020 was when the shock of the initial lockdowns had led to massive stock piling by shoppers and record sales in supermarkets.
“It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living with restrictions for over a year now, and it means grocery market growth will fluctuate in the coming months as we compare sales against the different stages of lockdown in 2020,” said Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar.
“Growth may have dipped year on year in April, but we’re still some way from normal and take-home grocery spending remains an incredible 19.4pc higher than pre-pandemic levels,” she said.
The average household grocery bill was €245.10 higher in the past 12 weeks than in 2019, the data shows.
It also shows shoppers are beginning to venture out more and that they visited the supermarket almost four million more times in the past four weeks compared with this time last year.
The mostly vaccinated over 65s are leading the return and increased their visits to bricks-and-mortar stores by 13.7pc compared with this time last year – ahead of the national rate of 8.9pc, Kantar said.
That in turn means the boom in online grocery shopping has started to soften, although it is still growing and online grocery sales have more than doubled in the past year, making up 5.6pc of the market now.
“It’s clear that people are itching to get out and about and visit stores again, but that doesn’t mean completely waving goodbye to their new online shopping routines anytime soon,” Ms Healy said.
SuperValu continued to hold the largest share of the grocery market at 22.5pc, followed closely by Tesco and Dunnes Stores.