More shoppers making the switch to discounters

Five times more shoppers are doing their main shop at budget supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl, than before the recession.

The main casualties of the switch to the lower price stores are Tesco and Superquinn, which are the main shopping destination for a third fewer customers than before.

Dunnes Stores is down a quarter on the number of customers who previously did their main shop there and the smaller chains are collectively down almost half.

But SuperValu is holding its own as a main shop destination and has actually increased its total customer base slightly when those who use it for their main shop or use it for any of their shopping are added together.

The findings are from a survey carried out on behalf of Checkout magazine.

The magazine’s editor, Stephen Wynne-Jones, said: “These figures illustrate what many in the industry have believed for some time — that the discounters have entered the mainstream in the eyes of Irish shoppers.

“As the economic clouds start to recede, it will be interesting to see whether the significant growth enjoyed by Aldi and Lidl can be sustained.”

According to the survey, an average of 6% of shoppers did their main shop at Aldi or Lidl between 2002 and 2007 but that jumped to 30% between 2008 and 2013.

By contrast, Tesco — which was where 30% of shoppers did their main shop in 2002-2007 — saw that figure drop to 20% last year. Dunnes Stores saw its share of the main shop category drop from 25% to 19%, Superquinn from 6% to 4%, and the smaller chains collectively from 9% to 5%.

Only SuperValu bucked the trend by maintaining its main shop share at 19% both before and since the recession, while the proportion of shoppers who use SuperValu for any of their shopping rose from 37% to 41%.

Tesco did not lose too many customers completely, however, as the proportion who did any shopping there only fell from 51% to 48% and the value of the average weekly shop there was joint highest with Dunnes Stores, at a total of €125.

However, Dunnes Stores did lose significant numbers, down from 46% to 36%, while Superquinn’s share of all shoppers fell from 14% to 10%, and the smaller chains dropped from 31% to 20%.

The biggest change was again at Aldi and Lidl, with 62% of shoppers saying they do at least some of their shopping at their outlets compared to 39% before the recession.

The findings of strong performances by Aldi, Lidl, and Supervalu were backed by a report from super-market monitors, Kantar Worldpanel Ireland, which showed these stores all had increased customer spend over the pre-Christmas to early new year period.

Tesco did best overall in the 12 weeks to Jan 5, taking 26.2% of total consumer spend but that was down 6.2% on the same period last year.

Dunnes did next best, getting 23.9% of total consumer spend, but that was down 0.9% on the previous year, and Superquinn, with 5.2% was down 6.4%.

SuperValu, by contrast, enjoyed 20.1% of total spend, up 1.3%; Aldi had 7.1%, up 20.1%, and Lidl had 6.4%, up 12.2%.


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