Product quality and slick communications broaden appeal of UK discounters, Savvy Marketing finds

Aldi: quality focus and slicker communications driving penetration

Aldi: quality focus and slicker communications driving penetration

Increased focus on product quality and slicker communication has paid off for discounters Aldi and LIdl, who are now attracting shoppers well beyond their traditional target markets, research by Savvy Marketing reveals.

“A combination of new store openings, changes in shopper’s perceptions and the painful economic downturn have all helped discounters to enjoy significant market share gains and step up their game,” said Alastair Lockhart, head of insight at Savvy Marketing. 

“Shoppers are continuing with their savvy purchasing behaviour and they’re interested in seeking out new ways to save money. As a result, loyalty has fallen into decline and the discounters, with their low prices and simple propositions, are emerging as winners.  What this research tells us is that savvy shopping behaviour is not confined to any particular group of shoppers – families across all income levels see the benefits of selective use of discounters to save a little money.”

Key research findings:

Which discounter and how often?

  • 52% of UK shoppers have visited an Aldi in the past six months. Main rival Lidl welcomed 49% of shoppers
  • Nearly a fifth of shoppers visit Aldi or Lidl at least every two weeks. Interestingly 27% 18-24 year olds – the highest of all age groups measured – frequent Aldi every two weeks

Who are the shoppers (over the past six months)?

Age profile:

  • Younger shoppers (18-24 year olds) have the highest propensity to visit discounters – particularly to go to Aldi (60% versus 51% to Lidl)
  • Older shoppers (64-74 year olds) are the least likely to go to the discounters with 44% visiting Aldi and 45% going to Lidl

Socio-economic class:


  • The skilled working class (C2) shoppers are the group most likely to regularly use discounters – 62% of this group visit both Aldi and Lidl equally
  • In second place are ABs – the most affluent groups of middle class shoppers (with 53% going to Aldi and 51% to Lidl)
  • Perhaps surprisingly those with the most restricted amount of spending power, groups D and E were the least likely to visit the discounters

Shoppers’ attitudes and perceptions


  • 68% of UK shoppers perceive Aldi as offering good or very good prices and 64% say the retailer offers good value overall
  • Quality perceptions are respectable too with just over half of all UK shoppers (52%) perceiving Aldi as offering good or very good quality
  • Unsurprisingly Aldi shoppers judge the retailer very highly across all key metrics. Price, value for money and quality are rated as good or very good by 82%, 82% and 75% of Aldi shoppers respectively.


  • 60% of UK shoppers perceive Lidl as offering good or very good prices and 56% say the retailer offers good value overall
  • Good and very good quality perceptions amongst all UK shoppers stood at 47%
  • Price, value for money and quality were well thought of by Lidl shoppers with 78%, 79% and 74% respectively, rating these factors as good or very good.

Category penetration

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables is the highest penetration category by some margin – purchased by 73% of shoppers who have used a discounter in the past six months. Biscuits and cakes, cheese and crisps and snacks are also high penetration categories
  • In terms of category quality, interestingly shoppers rated fruit and vegetables as the worst of the options listed. That said, it was still rated as good or very good by 75% of respondents who had bought that category
  • Ambient products were positively rated by the highest proportion of shoppers, with pasta and rice, confectionery, baking ingredients and breakfast cereals topping the table

Lockhart said: “Discounters are on a positive run which isn’t anticipated to end any time soon. From the shoppers’ perspective, savvy shopping chatter between friends is encouraging more people to visit discounters and try new ranges. From the retailers’ perspective ambitious new store opening plans will ensure more shoppers have convenient access to their outlets, their advertising is working well and quality perceptions continue to improve.”