Aldi and Lidl continue strong run of form, says Kantar

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ALDI and Lidl continued their strong run of form last month as growing numbers of consumers embraced Veganuary, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to January 27 2019 show the sector remains in growth – up 1.7 per cent compared to this time last year – boosted in part by the strong performance of fresh produce for Veganuary. However, despite an overall sales increase year-on-year, total till roll sales fell £1.5 billion compared with December.

The Aldi store in Guiseley, near Leeds  Picture Bruce Rollinson

The Aldi store in Guiseley, near Leeds Picture Bruce Rollinson

Kantar said: “Replicating a common January trend, shoppers have again been keeping a watchful eye on grocery bills following last month’s record-breaking Christmas grocery spend.”

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “Looking back on 2018 as a whole, one of the most notable consumer trends is the shift to a more plant-based diet. Today, 1 per cent of all households include a vegan, 5 per cent have a vegetarian and 10 pwer cent have flexitarians in their ranks.

This move has contributed to consumers eating a total of 4.4 billion meat-free dinners in 2018, an increase of 150 million meals on the year before.

“Following an indulgent Christmas period, health-conscious shoppers and Veganuary participants helped sales of fruit, vegetables and salad surge by £46 million compared with January last year. Cucumbers, carrots and berries in particular proved to be shopper favourites, rocketing by 26 per cent, 22 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

“Meanwhile, over two-thirds of customers bought an item labelled ‘free-from’ over the past month, with dairy alternatives like plant milks making up a quarter of total free-from sales.”

Almost a third of consumers claim to be open to Dry January but this did not stop total alcohol sales from enjoying double-digit growth of 10 per cent in the last four weeks, Kantar said.

Mr McKevitt continued: “Alcohol performed well over the month, though this was helped by a strong New Year’s Eve, and when excluding sales on 31 December growth falls to 2.9 per cent. All in all, 53 per cent of households bought alcohol in January and while non and low-alcohol beers jumped by 79 per cent, the popular #Ginuary helped gin sales grow by 23 per cent.”

Aldi and Lidl have continued their strong run of form: 18.3 million households shopped in at least one of the discounters over the past 12 weeks, spending an average of £204 – up £8 compared with this time last year. With sales up 9.1 per cent, Aldi was the fastest-growing supermarket, increasing its market share by 0.5 percentage points to 7.5 per cent. Meanwhile, Lidl’s market share rose by 0.3 percentage points as sales growth clocked in at 7.3 per cent.

Mr McKevitt added: “With the exception of the discounters, Co-op was the only retailer to gain market share over this 12-week period. This now stands at 5.9 per cent – up 0.1 percentage points on this time last year. An additional 346,000 consumers visited its stores, helping to buoy sales of its top-tier Irresistible range by 9 per cent.

“The Co-op’s strongest growth was focused in the capital and, with more stores set to open this year in London and the south east, this trend is likely to continue.”

Tesco’s centenary commitment to ‘celebrate 100 years of great value’ has helped the grocer increase sales by 1.0 per cent– its fastest rate of growth since September 2018. Its Exclusively at Tesco fresh food lines performed particularly strongly, with total sales reaching £130 million. Tesco’s market share now stands at 27.7 per cent – down 0.2 percentage points on this time last year, according to Kantar.

Despite sales at Morrisons rising by 0.4 per cent, market share fell to 10.6 per cent – down 0.2 percentage points, Kantar said.

Mr McKevitt continued: “Morrisons’ recent announcement that it will hire 500 new apprentices for its counters could prove a savvy move: 41 per cent of its customers already shop at the retailer’s Market Street stalls.”

Asda’s double-digit online performance contributed to growth of 0.7 per cent, though the retailer’s market share declined 0.2 percentage points to 15.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s saw sales fall by 0.3 per cent while its market share dropped by 0.4 percentage points to 15.9 per cent.

Waitrose returned to growth this period with sales up 0.2 per cent – the retailer’s market share dropped by 0.1 percentage points to 5.1 per cent.

Iceland grew ahead of the market – up 2.3 per cent – recording 11 successive periods of growth. Nearly half of the supermarket’s growth was channelled through its core frozen lines, with ambient groceries and alcohol also performing well. Ocado held market share steady at 1.1 per cent and saw sales rise by 1.0 per, according to Kantar.