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Discounters continue to squeeze big four supermarkets

Future Thinking, a business intelligence research consultancy, has revealed additional findings of the 2015 Shopper Barometer, an annual independent study of current trends and future consumer habits of UK shoppers.

The survey of 1,200 UK consumers revealed that the discount supermarkets are continuing to grow in popularity with Britons and will continue to take custom away from the big stores.

One third of consumers still do their main weekly shop at Tesco, although two-thirds of consumers have shopped in the discounters (Aldi, Lidl, etc.) for at least some items. This is reflected in Aldi overtaking Waitrose to become the UK’s sixth-largest supermarket chain with a 5.35% share of the market. Furthermore, the big four are moving away from opening larger out-of-town stores, whilst Lidl is planning to launch 70 more of its compact footprint stores in 2015.

One area where the large supermarkets still dominate is with loyalty schemes. 93% of Britons hold at least one of the top three loyalty cards of Tesco Clubcard, Nectar or Boots Advantage, with the most rewarding card being named as Tesco’s.

The large supermarkets also have local markets and independent shops to contend with, which have tended to suffer in recent years, but are now being used more frequently by some consumers: 38% of shoppers have used a street market, 35% have visited farmers’ markets, 37% have been to their greengrocer and half have been to a butcher.

Noreen Kinsey, Head of Shopper Insight at Future Thinking, commented: “With competition between the supermarkets rife, they must be especially careful to keep listening to what their customers want, rather than what their competitors are doing. The discounters have shown a better understanding of what consumers need, and where and why they are still looking to make savings on their groceries.

“Britons have been living with tightened belts since 2007 and even with economic growth being reported, consumers are reluctant to open their purses and wallets to start spending more. We seem to be better at finding the right deals for the best quality products that we can, and these are seemingly being delivered by the discounters.”

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