Lidl’s lack of online hampers Christmas sales growth, says GlobalData

Following today’s release of Lidl’s figures for Christmas FY2021/22; Juliet Cuell, retail analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view: “In the war of the discounters, Lidl has won the festive battle with 2.6% sales growth versus Aldi’s 0.4% rise over a similar period, however Lidl’s lack of transactional website held back its growth potential, given more consumers are now willing to buy groceries online.

“Similarly to Aldi, like-for-like growth versus last year will be in negative territory considering the grocers’ aggressive store opening programs, however, Lidl did report impressive growth on 2019 – sales were up 21.0%. While Lidl attributes some of its success to its Christmas advert featuring its fastest selling product in the ‘middle of Lidl’ aisle, the Lidl Christmas jumper, evidently consumers wanted to make Christmas more of an occasion after an interrupted 2020. Footfall was up 14.0% year-on-year on 23 December 2021, its busiest day during the period. This demonstrates that despite the rise in Omicron cases in the UK in the lead up to the festive season, shoppers felt safe shopping in stores with many receiving a third COVID-19 jab before Christmas.

“The grocer should not rule out offering click & collect and home delivery – the UK online food & grocery market value was worth £25.1bn in 2021 and is forecast to grow 16.8% by 2025, far outpacing overall sector growth. While Aldi adapted its store-first proposition during the pandemic to offer click & collect from around 200 stores and delivery via Deliveroo from 130 stores, Lidl stuck with a traditional discounter operating model. It should consider not only rolling out online services across its sizeable store estate but also trialling a rapid delivery partnership in London to truly compete with the big four beginning to enter this market.”

Christian Härtnagel, Lidl GB CEO, said: “Despite ongoing challenges with the pandemic, customers continued to find ways to celebrate this Christmas. Our high quality, low priced festive ranges proved a hit, helping us achieve a record Christmas with footfall and sales beating the previous two years. 

“Our Lidl Christmas jumpers were clearly a winner in the style stakes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see customers wearing theirs all year round.”

“As ever, none of what we do would be possible without the hard work of our colleagues across the country and our suppliers. I cannot thank them enough for their efforts during this period as we continued to navigate the industry challenges to provide for our customers, ensuring all stores were well stocked.

“As inflation continues to rise, I want to reassure each and every one of our customers that we remain resolute in our promise of being the destination for the lowest grocery prices in the market.”

For the fourth year in a row, Lidl GB ran its food donation programme in the month of December and on Christmas Eve. Stores supported local charities and ended the year with nearly 5.5m meals donated. The products were donated via Lidl’s Feed it Back scheme in partnership with Neighbourly.

In December Lidl opened eight new stores across the country, and its store expansion plans also continue at pace with a number sites opening in January, including in London and Liverpool.