Great Britain: Discounters and Online prosper

Online shopping. Illustration: Sueharper/
While discounters and online prosper, Great Britain's Big Four Super Market Chains suffer, according to consultant agency Kantar. Illustration: Sueharper/
By Reidar Molthe

11 February 2020 09:49

Great Britain: Discounters and Online prosper

Latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show the Big Four supermarket chains continued their downward trend in the new year, whilst the likes of Aldi, Lidl, Ocado and Co-op made further gains.

Overall, the grocery market achieved growth of just 0.3% during the 12 weeks to 20 January.

Kantar, a consultancy, suggests many people started the year with good intentions and pledges to make healthier choices following the excesses of the festive period.

For example, sales of non-alcoholic beer surged up 37% and adult soft drinks grew by 3% as people committed to drinking less in January. 

The Veganuary campaign also appears to have had an impact with sales of meat substitutes such as soya mince or vegetarian burgers and sausages 14% higher than last year, whilst sales of lentils were up 6%, lettuce 10% and aubergine 14%.

Ocado grows fast

Among the individual retailers, Ocado was again Britain’s fastest-growing grocer with its sales up 11.2% year-on-year and market share increasing by 0.2 percentage points to 1.4%. 

Kantar highlighted that whilst more than half of the online retailer’s sales come from customers in London and the South of England, its quickest growth is actually found outside of this heartland in the North of England where its sales were 17% higher than the same time last year.

Lidl also achieved double-digit growth, up by 11.1% year-on-year. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, commented:

“Branded items account for a small but growing part of the discounter’s sales, with household favorites in cleaning and confectionery contributing to a 19% increase during the past 12 weeks.”

Meanwhile, Aldi increased its sales by 5.7%, growing both chilled ready meals and spirits by 12%.

McKevitt added:

“A key factor in the advance of the discounters has been their ability to attract additional shoppers, each welcoming more than 800,000 extra visitors through their doors in the past year, supported by strong store opening programs.”

The big four falls

Sainsbury’s was again the best performing of the Big Four supermarkets, although its sales still fell by 0.6% and its market share was marginally lower at 15.8%. Kantar highlighted that Sainsbury’s improved performance is being helped by online sales which grew by 7% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Morrisons continued to lose market share, down from 10.6% last year to 10.3%.

Asda’s sales declined by 2.2% and its market share fell back to 14.9%. However, its premium ‘Extra Special’ range proved popular and achieved double-digit sales growth, expanding most notably in fresh meat, crisps and alcohol.

Tesco’s market share dropped by 0.4 percentage points to 27.3% and sales were 0.9% lower than a year ago.

Waitrose’s sales were 1.5% lower than that same period last year and its market share slipped from 5.1% to 5.0%.

Co-op continued its run of growth, which stretches back to May 2018, with sales up by 2.7%. The convenience retailer’s market share rose by 0.1 percentage points to 6.0%.

Iceland’s sales grew ahead of the overall market at 1.4% and its share held steady as a result.

More News from FOOD