«World champion» in groceries

Lidl. Photo: Mohammed Soliman/Dreamstime
Photo: Mohammed Soliman/Dreamstime
By Rreidar Molthe

20 December 2023 09:52

«World champion» in groceries

Lidl was one of the main sponsors of the World Handball Championship that France won against Norway last week. The sponsorship is matching because Lidl is the fastest growing grocery retailer in the world, a “world champion” in groceries according to many experts.

Lidl grows faster than Walmart, faster than Carrefour and faster than lesser-known Asian chains such as AEON or FamilyMart to name a few. However, Walmart is still by far the biggest with a turnover more than 3 times that of Lidl.

Lidl has been for several years and is still the fastest growing grocery retailer globally, according to Nielsen, a global consulting company in the industry.

The German discount retailer chain runs 12,000 stores, is the fifth-largest retailer worldwide with a turnover of €114.8 billion (2022). According to estimates, the supermarket retailer is predicted to turn over 130 billion euros in net sales in 2026, which would be an increase of over 33 billion, according to Statista, a consulting company.

Beats English chains on the domestic market

The UK has gradually become a significant market for Lidl. And the success has not diminished after Brexit, which has cost British consumers and businesses massive.

Ironically, Brexit has partly turned to Lidl's advantage.

Lidl (+9.4%) stays the fastest growing grocery retailer over the last 12 weeks up to October 2023, while former champions such as Tesco and Sainsbury are struggling. With food prices continuing to rise and household energy costs jump too, it is no surprise that most consumers are saying they have been severely or moderately affected by the cost of living crisis. And with shoppers increasingly focusing on the cost of their weekly groceries to help manage personal finances it is reason to believe that Lidl as the leading discount chain is still the champion in the near future.

Three experts on Lidl

The reason for Lidl’s success is complex. We asked one of Scandinavia's best analysts, Arne Herman Reiler, former director of Nielsen both in Norway and abroad, for a brief explanation:

“I think the short answer is that they make customers smart. I am not just making a cheap deal; I am making a smart deal at Lidl. In other words, Lidl attracts both those who need low prices and those who love low prices. Lidl as a brand hit on both functional properties and emotional properties," concludes Reiler to NHH.

"Lidl's founder Dieter Schwarz has managed to create a culture that surpasses Aldi's (which is divided into two family branches). In addition to success in Germany, Lidl has gained a particularly good hold on the English market. Sister company Kaufland also gives Lidl considerable strength in relation to its suppliers. In Europe, Lidl is simply the best in terms of location, assortment, and logistics," says renowned industry analyst Odd Gisholt to NHH.

The English retail expert and journalist Brian Moore (NamNews) emphasizes the following to NHH: "Simplicity of offer, value for money and trust. Lidl has recognized that the shopper has too much choice and wants a faster shopping experience, a big challenge to marketing excess.”

To sum it all up we may resonate as follows: 

  • Lidl makes the customer smart
  • Lidl hits on functional and emotional properties
  • Lidl is simply best on location, assortment, and logistics
  • Lidl gives value for money
  • Lidl innovates product range and store format continually
  • Lidl continues to expand its store network in Europe and US 

It is quite unique that a German, family-owned grocery chain becomes one of the most successful retailers worldwide. From a Norwegian point of view, it is even more surprising that Lidl failed fundamentally in Norway.

Sources: NHH, Statista, Nielsen, Supermarket News, Namnews.

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