Figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that sales at Aldi grew 32.7 per cent in the 12 weeks to September 15, compared to the same period last year, its biggest rise ever and taking its market share from 2.9 per cent to 3.7 per cent.
That increase comes on the back of a marketing push, including TV and print campaigns and a focus on driving up its social media fans, aimed at proving that it offers not just cheap products, but high-quality ones as well. YouGov data suggests its a message that is getting through to customers.
On quality, Aldi’s score on YouGov’s BrandIndex is up 15 points over the past year to 14.4, boosting its position in a list of 25 supermarkets tracked by YouGov from 12th to 7th. On value it has overtaken Asda to take the top spot with a score of 33.9, up 6.3 points compared to last year.
It is also performing better than the wider market. Aldi’s Index score – YouGov BrandIndex’s average of perception measures including impression, quality, value, reputation, satisfaction and recommendation – rose from 12.9 a year ago to 19.9 on September 25. By comparison, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all saw their scores drop, while Morrisons and Asda remained more or less flat.
Aldi’s growth has come from both existing customers spending more in store and an influx of middle-class shoppers shifting spend from the big four supermarkets. Figures from Nielsen claim that almost 40 per cent of households shopped at a discount grocery store such as Aldi in the four weeks to mid-September, with many British shoppers now using these retailers as a regular part of their shopping trips.
Aldi in particular has managed to reduce the stigma of discount shopping through a simple marketing message “Like brands only cheaper” and a focus on proving its quality by winning numerous awards for its own-brand ranges. It also beat off competition from it bigger rivals to take the top supermarket accolade at both the Which? and The Grocer awards.
Plus its performance is best not among packaged goods and fizzy drinks like you might expect, but among fresh and chilled food. Edward Garner, Kantar’s communications director, says that Aldi’s share of the fruit and vegetable market is ahead of its share of grocery sales overall as consumers spend more money at Aldi.
“Aldi’s share of shopping is going up. People still visit the likes of Asda for their main shop, but they top up at Aldi and they are increasing their spend in its stores. The change in message from ‘we sell cheap stuff’ to ‘we sell stuff cheaply’ is paying off and attracting the canny shopper looking to reduce their weekly spend,” Garner adds.
With sales growth up and brand perceptions increasing, where next for Aldi? One of its most recent store openings hints at a new focus. Typically, Aldi opens stores on the edge of towns with plenty of parking and that are at least 10,000 square feet. But its Kilburn store, opened in April, is bang in the middle of the high street mopping up the lunchtime trade.
The new store shows Aldi is keen to take a slice of the burgeoning convenience market currently dominated by Tesco and Sainsbury’s. If it can replicate its success in this market sector, it could help boost the areas where the business is still lagging: loyalty and the in-store shopping experience.