German supermarket chains such as Edeka and Rewe have achieved stronger growth figures in 2019 than hard discounters Aldi and Lidl. Which lessons are there to learn from this remarkable feat?
A difficult balancing act
In the country that is still the origin of hard discounters, the large supermarket chains have managed to increase their turnover by about 3 % last year, while discounters had to settle for a growth of 0.9 %. According to GfK, consumers are increasingly demanding a pleasant shopping atmosphere and an attractive range of sustainable products, on top of affordable prices. Supermarkets are currently doing better at finding the right balance compared to the discounters, German trade journal Lebensmittel Praxis writes.
Ten years ago, most people said price was more important than quality, but in the meantime wages have been rising steadily in Germany. This has had an impact on purchasing behaviour: 55 % of consumers pay particular attention to quality when shopping, while only 45 % focus on price. According to the study, particularly younger consumers are looking for freshness, regional origin and artisanal products from smaller producers.
In recent years, hard-discounters seemed almost untouchable, and their further expansion in most European countries is still impressive. However, this remarkable evolution on the German market is not an isolated case: last month it became known that Aldi and Lidl also lost market share in the Netherlands. The big winner there was Jumbo, a chain that manages to combine low prices with a wide range of products and a pleasant shopping experience.