Supermarket shares: Shoppers continue to desert mid-market

Budget retailer Aldi retains the fastest growing supermarket crown as shoppers tighten belts further in reaction to negative economic headlines, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel supermarket share figures.


Its share grew by 25% in the 12 weeks to 2 October, putting its overall share of the market at 3.5%, up from 3% for the same period last year.

The analyst says the growth reflects that consumers are currently responding strongest to low-price marketing. Morrisons netted the largest growth of the ’big four’ supermarkets, reflecting the overall budget trend.

Although Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s have held on to the top three biggest supermarket positions by market share – 30.6%, 17.3% and 15.9% respectively – the shares do not yet reflect response to aggressive price campaigns recently launched by all three.

Kantar adds the ’theme of two nations’ it identified earlier this year is continuing, with strong growth also recorded at the premium end of the market.

Waitrose grew its share of the market by 9.4%, while Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s premium ranges showed double digit growth, according to Kantar.

“The gap between inflation and growth has become a major feature of the grocery market as shoppers trade down to cheaper products and retailers strive to convince consumers they are combating inflation. As a result, those retailers with a low price message are the driving force in the market, with Iceland and Lidl enjoying sales growth of over 10% year-on-year, and Aldi leading the market,” says Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner.

Following news of slowed growth at the UK’s biggest supermarket, Tesco kicked off the latest round in the ever-running supermarket price wars with an aggressive ’Big-Price Drop” campaign with cuts totalling £500m. Any impact will likely show up in the next Kantar figures.

The second largest supermarket quickly reacted to Tesco’s cut-price battlecry by launching a print campaign emphasising its pledge to be 10% cheaper on every price, which it launched at the start of the year. Asda has had to work harder to hold onto market share as budget customers are lured away by the likes of Aldi and Iceland.

The third largest supermarket Sainsbury’s stepped-up to the latest price warmongering from its rivals with its roll-out of the ’Big Price Match’ which gives customers vouchers at the till of the value of their basket is calculated to be higher than it would come to at a rival supermarket.

Sainsbury’s had managed to gain customers trading down from premium retailers, but its strong growth has stalled in recent months as rivals such as Waitrose step-up price-based marketing.

The northern supermarket brand has grown impressively as it has extended it’s presence across the UK with a quality, fresh food at lower prices message. It responded to recent price-cut campaigns with the press ads to launch it’s latest Big Pay Day Price Crunch, which claims to offer more than 1000 half price offers.

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