The “Aldi effect” may be overstated, according to exclusive Marketing Week research that shows less than 10% of shoppers would “downtrade” to cheaper supermarkets on the basis of price alone.
The research, carried out by pollsters GfK NOP, suggests claims that cash-strapped consumers are shifting to less expensive supermarkets such as Aldi has either reversed in recent weeks or been overplayed.
Just 8% of respondents say they have switched to a cheaper supermarket due to the recession. However, a slightly larger proportion – 24% – say they are shopping in different supermarkets to take account of offers, discounts and promotions.
Aldi and fellow discounters Lidl and Netto hit the headlines last summer when TNS worldpanel grocery market share figures showed Aldi had gained a huge 20.8% of sales, giving it a record share of 2.9% while Lidl gained over 12% to give it a share of 2.4%.
The latest figures show both recorded double-digit sales gains in the 12 weeks to February 22, but, while their overall market share had increased compared to the same period last year, the gains were marginal.
Verdict senior retail analyst Malcolm Pinkerton says he would have expected a higher number to have downtraded. “If this survey had been carried out in November or December I think we would have seen a different result. This could reflect the fact that other supermarket brands have worked hard to stop customers downtrading by aggressively marketing their competitive price positions,” he says.
Asda and Tesco have stepped up their price-dropping tactics since Christmas, introducing price cuts across all lines, while Waitrose last week announced the introduction of an own-brand value range.
A spokesperson for Aldi says it is continuing to attract “more and more shoppers… as they discover the high quality of our products is comparable with leading brands, but at affordable prices.”