Newton: shoppers choose convenience and quality over low prices

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When it comes to choosing a supermarket, shoppers are being driven by convenience and quality rather than cost, research by retail consultancy Newton has found.

The study found that when it comes to choosing a supermarket, 47% of consumers rank convenience as their number one priority, based on proximity to their home or work. A third (33%) are influenced by the quality of products, while 31% need to find everything they’re looking for under one roof. Price is only the fourth biggest driver, with less than a third (27%) stating they shop at a store due to it selling the cheapest products.

Paul Harvey, associate director of Newton, commented: “These findings represent a huge opportunity for the larger retailers to fight back. The multiples should focus on promoting their existing differentiators to fully capitalise on the fact that 94% of customers who shop at a discounter still also shop at a multiple.

“Crucially, consumer demand for convenience increasingly relates to the overall ease of the whole shopping experience. This means retailers are looking at how they can combine shopping instore (where customers can select fresh produce) with online or local options for other products to complete their shop.

“However, 88% of consumers still visit more than one supermarket, with a third (33%) reasoning that they can’t find everything they need in one store. In reality, the larger format stores have a far superior range, with closer to 25,000 products at an average multiple vs 1,300 at Aldi.

Offering quality products is also key to the multiples’ success. Despite 63% of shoppers presuming quality of products are the same, regardless of belonging to a discounter or multiple, Newton’s blind taste tests revealed that Aldi and Lidl are consistently behind the ‘Big Four’. The multiples ranked higher in 10 out of 16 categories, including dairy, fish and grocery.

Paul Harvey continued, ultimately, it is the customer’s belief that the discounter’s products are of equivalent value and quality to the larger stores that encourages them to shop at both – but the discounters can’t compete with the multiple’s product range and still keep prices low. The multiples can also rebalance the perception that discounter products are like-for-like in quality.

“We’ve recently seen the likes of Tesco return to a competitive position by fixing many of the factors that matter most to customers, such as quality of service or length of queues. There is now a huge opportunity for the multiples to proactively promote the benefits of shopping at their stores.”

Newton’s report entitled ‘Beating the Discounters’ examines how the multiples such as Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda (also known as the ‘Big Four’) can regain market share back from the discounters.