The Rise of Aldi: Has Shopper Loyalty Changed?

Recent research indicates that customers are no longer loyal to one supermarket. Whereas in previous years, a customer would return to Tesco once a week to carry out their weekly shop, nowadays customers will go to where it is cheapest. Often, a shopper will visit two supermarkets in one day to take advantage of savings and consumers are often found shopping in five supermarkets per week. These trips are increasingly to a “discounted” chain, like Aldi.

Evidently, shopper’s habits have changed. Previously the head of a household would go shopping once a week to a large hypermarket. Now, the trend is towards a bigger shop less often, with trips to a local small supermarket to top up on items multiple times in one week being the norm.

Sites like mySupermarket.co.uk have contributed to this trend by allowing customers to research prices across retailers and choose where to spend their money. The ease of making an online purchase from their desk at work or from home is appealing to time pressed shoppers who are looking for a convenient option. Apps like the mySupermarket one allow shoppers to compare prices of products in different retailers whilst they are shopping. Brand loyalty continues, while supermarket loyalty declines.

While Aldi has a small loyal customer base, most of its revenue comes from shoppers who are looking for bargains. Aldi stores are more visually appealing to shoppers than they used to be, and their own brand products have won some prizes, giving it more prestige and making it an attractive shopping option.

The big winner of the Which? best supermarket award for 2015 was Aldi. The award is based on customer satisfaction, value for money, reliability and quality. It is Aldi’s fourth time winning this award since 2009, suggesting the German retailer has found its way into the hearts of the British public. According to Matthew Barnes, Chief Executive Officer for Aldi UK and Ireland, “Our business is built on championing what matters most to them (our customers), whether that’s locally sourced British products, consistently low prices and great taste and quality”.

The winner of this war will be the consumer. The big supermarket chains are fighting to retain loyalty to their stores, but if shoppers have a range of places to carry out their shopping and a range of prices to choose from, they will be able to save money and come home satisfied.

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