Report • 10.11.2015

Loss of customers at German discounters

Difficult times for Aldi, Lidl & Co

Loss of customers at German discounters
Source: ALDI SÜD
Being cheap is no longer enough: According to a recent survey conducted by GfK, the German discounters have lost 1.3 percent in sales volume from January to September 2015. This is in stark contrast to the classical supermarkets, which are looking on good results.

According to information of the German newspaper “WirtschaftsWoche” sales of Aldi Nord fell by 3.6 per cent, Aldi Süd lost 2.6 percent compared to the same period in 2014. Competitor Lidl recorded lower losses with 1.5 percent.

Young customers find shopping too stressful

According to GfK the decline in sales of discounters is mostly due to the fact that fewer and fewer customers find their way into the store. That demand has declined by 0.7 percent in food retail can also be attributed to the heavy workload especially of younger customers who are going shopping much rarer as it was previously common in their age group. At the same time many consumers opt for more sustainability in their own consumption - so they go shopping less often and when they do, they buy high-quality products which they just do not usually find on the shelves of discounters.

Discounters react and try to change their image

But the low-cost carriers do not give up. This is reflected, among other things, by the increasing number of brand products on their shelves. This would have been unthinkable a few years ago, since delimitation in the range of goods made up the very identity of the discounters. But for some time now the discounters have polished their image with the introduction of baking stations and supply of fresh meat for instance. More and more of their stores now also have additional features like customer restrooms or sitting areas. Some of them are also investing in a more expensive store design (Aldi) and promotional TV spots (Lidl) – two things which do not really fit the picture that German customers have had of their discounters for decades.

So in fact, the discounters are facing a period of weakness right now but one cannot say that they simply accept the problems. On the contrary, they often put a lot of effort in the creation of a new image and place customer satisfaction in the foreground. The rivalry between discounters and supermarkets will thus not be decided in favor of one side all too soon.

Author: Daniel Stöter, iXtenso.com

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