That’s why discounters are having a hard time

The corona pandemic has changed the way Germans shop. This particularly affects discounters, especially at Christmas time. Why Rewe and Edeka are now more in demand.

French champagne, leg of venison and beef fillet: In good time for Christmas, Germany’s discounters will once again be decorating their branches with a touch of luxury in the Corona year 2020. But this year Aldi, Lidl and Co. will have an even harder time than usual to assert themselves against the diverse range of supermarkets in the weeks leading up to the festival. This is due to the pandemic.

“This year, consumers will shop less at Christmas than before the pandemic. And they will often give preference to supermarkets and small hypermarkets because they can do all their shopping there at once, but also because they feel safer than there in the rather cramped discounters, “predicts retail expert Fred Hogen from the market research company Nielsen.

Market share of Aldi, Lidl and other discounters is shrinking

The weeks before Christmas are a big challenge for Aldi, Lidl and Co. every year. Because during the Christmas season, consumers pay less attention to their money. Every year, supermarkets and hypermarkets benefit from this.

Their market share increases in the weeks leading up to the festival, while the market share of the discounters decreases. “This year, however, the losses of the discounters will probably be a little stronger,” predicts Hogen.

Because the pandemic has permanently changed the shopping behavior of German citizens. People go shopping less often than in the past, but they pack more into their shopping carts, according to a Nielsen survey of 20,000 households. And: consumers usually only go to one shop, not two or three shops. The experts talk about one-stop shopping.

Edeka, Rewe and Co. increase sales more strongly

So far, the winners of this trend have been Edeka, Rewe and Co. The supermarkets have benefited in the past few months from their wide range of offers, “with which some consumers compensate for missing restaurants,” says the retail expert of the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) Robert Kecskes.

According to GfK data, supermarket sales rose by 16.6 percent between January and October. Aldi, Lidl and the other discounters grew by “only” 9 percent. “In the pandemic, your customers buy more often in the supermarket than in the discounter,” says Kecskes.

Lidl presents itself as a “one-for-everything shop”

That doesn’t mean that the discounters don’t do everything they can to lure customers back to their stores in time for the festive shopping spree. This year, Lidl is presenting itself in an elaborate campaign not only as “Your Christmas market” but also as a “one-for-all shop” that offers everything from ingredients for the festive menu to Christmas gifts. And also the Edeka discounter Netto is advertising this year with the motto “One for all. Everything for cheap.”

The little luxury at festivities has already become a permanent part of the discounter’s offer in recent years. In addition to minced meat, whole beef fillets suddenly found themselves in the freezers before the festival, next to sliced ​​young Gouda, a French Tête de Moine, which costs almost five times as much.

This year, Aldi Süd has even included fine champagne from the Veuve Cliquot brand for just under 37 euros per bottle. And at Lidl, the customer can order a Christmas goose – and for convenience, even the Christmas tree with it.

But all of this should mainly serve to limit the damage. “At the moment I don’t see any way how the discounters can assert themselves against supermarkets and small hypermarkets in this Corona-shaped year,” says Hogen. Aldi, Lidl and Co. would still have no choice but to offer more delicacies before the festival.

“Their range of small luxury is even more indispensable for discounters this year than usual, because consumers want to pamper themselves in the Corona crisis Want to lose supermarkets, “he emphasized.

“People want to treat themselves to something”

The Nielsen expert is certain: “Premium products will be bought significantly more this year – both from discounters and supermarkets. Because people want to treat themselves to something when they have to stay at home because of the partial lockdown.”

And even if the discounters benefited less from it than the supermarkets, ultimately the low-cost providers also recorded massive increases in sales during the crisis, emphasized GfK expert Kecskes. “Even the” suspended “do not gnaw on the hunger cloth.”

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