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Rise of the discounters

02 November 2014

During the UK recession many consumers found themselves strapped for cash and faced with rising grocery costs, and as such heading towards the discounters. Despite increased economic stability, discounters such as the pound stores, Home Bargains, B&M Bargains, Aldi and Lidl, are as popular as ever!

The UK economy witnessed recessions owing to the 2008 financial crisis and 2011 European sovereign debt crisis. Because of the short period between the two, consumer buying confidence never fully recovered. As expected, the discounters performed strongly in the recessionary environment with new stores appearing on high streets and retail parks across the country. However, despite increased economic stability consumers have not reverted back to their pre-recession shopping habits. In fact, in 2013 alone Aldi opened more than 50 new stores, including stores in affluent areas such as Winchester and Knutsford.

So why have the discounters proven so successful? Aldi and Lidl aim to stock high quality products at very competitive prices in a much more confined space, this has saved consumers both time and money when grocery shopping. Pound stores, Home Bargains and similar outlets have embraced brands, attracting consumers by stocking big name brands at discounted prices.  

Indeed the perception that discounters are primarily used by cash strapped consumers is now truly consigned to history; with more and more middle class and affluent consumers opting to shop via these channels.

Despite the supermarkets fighting back with aggressive promotions on popular brands and highlighting the ease of online shopping, the discounters have continued to grow.

Many UK consumers have become savvy shoppers, proud to boast about their ‘bargains’ from the discounters - that is of course excluding the occasional Aldi customer carrying out a Waitrose bag.


Kirsty NolanBy Kirsty Nolan

After graduating with honours from the University of York, Kirsty worked as a financial analyst in the mergers and acquisitions industry, gaining experience in report writing and detailed strategic analysis. Since joining Canadean as an analyst in early 2014, Kirsty has authored reports providing thought leadership into the future of snacking, as well as producing bespoke analysis for key players in the industry. Kirsty is particularly interested in determining growing trends in developing economies and their future impact.