Super-discounters Aldi and Lidl lure customers away from Big Four as shoppers go bargain hunting

Nearly one in three shoppers have visited an Aldi supermarket in the last 12 lured by heavy discounts 

Discounters Aldi and Lidl have taken customers away from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons as the Big Four all lost market share for the first time on record, according to the latest industry data.

Kantar Worldpanel, which has been following sales data for the supermarkets for a decade, said it had never seen all four fall during the same 12-week period and added that nearly one in three shoppers have visited an Aldi in the last 12 weeks.

The divergence is also continuing at the premium end of the market with Waitrose growing its market share, something it has done for the past four years, during one of the deepest recessions in living memory.

Even Sainsbury’s, which has been outperforming its peers recently, managed to lose market share in the 12 weeks to 10 November compared with the same period a year earlier, slipping from 16.8 per cent to 16.7 per cent.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket, saw its market share shrink from 30.5 per cent to 29.8 per cent, while Asda was down 17.6 per cent to 17.2 per cent and Morrisons stabilised its faltering performance from 11.7 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

By comparison, Aldi grew from 3 per cent to 3.9 per cent, Lidl from 2.7 per cent to 3 per cent and Waitrose from 4.6 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

Edward Garner, a director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The number of shoppers visiting Aldi has grown by 16 per cent year on year at the same time as the average basket size has swelled by nearly 15 per cent.

“In direct contrast, sales of premium products have also increased significantly over the past year. This Christmas, shoppers will be seeking both luxury and lower prices.”

The rise and rise of the discounters has left the big four supermarkets struggling to keep up. Asda recently announced a five-year plan to invest £1bn to keep prices low in what some have suggested could be a price war.However, discounters still only have a limited range of products, so most customers still need to go to a bigger supermarket too.

Food quality has also become more important for customers, with Waitrose winning customers, especially since the horsemeat scandal where horse DNA was found in other stores’ products.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s have both redesigned their own-brand premium ranges to win customers, with solid results.

Sales of Tesco’s new Finest range are up 16 per cent year on year, with sales of Sainsbury’s revamped Taste the Difference up 12 per cent.