Aldi and Lidl continue to gain on big four supermarkets with bumper Christmas

Challengers Aldi and Lidl continued to put pressure on the “big four” supermarkets over Christmas, new market share data shows.

Two-thirds of households shopped at one of the discounters over the 12 weeks to December 30, according to Kantar Worldpanel, giving them a combined 12.8% slice of the market.

This was the highest ever Christmas market share for the retailers, with Aldi’s sales up 10.4% and Lidl up 9.4%.

Market share of UK supermarkets
(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, Asda came out top of the big four grocers with a 0.7% rise in sales, while Sainsbury’s was the weakest of the pack with a 0.4% decline.

Tesco sales were 0.6% higher and Morrisons notched up 0.1% growth.

Co-op was the only retailer to beat its 2017 growth rate. It also increased its market share for the seventh period in a row, a trend which is set to continue as it plans 100 store openings this year.

Apart from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose was the only other retailer to see a drop in sales, with a decline of 1.7%.

Overall, supermarkets rang up another record Christmas, new data has shown, despite a slowdown in sector growth.

Shoppers spent a record £29.3 billion on groceries in the 12 weeks to December 30, which was £450 million more than this time last year.

But growth was slower as a lower level of inflation took its toll. The sector grew at 1.6%, its slowest rate since March 2017.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said the overall spend was tempered by lower inflation of 1.3%.

He said: “This slower inflation rate helped shoppers to manage their festive budgets, with 60% of customers looking to make savvier decisions to make their money go further over the holidays.”

New figures from Nielsen showed a similar trend, with overall grocery sales up 1.8% in the last four weeks, compared with 3.7% last year.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, put this down to changing consumer grocery shopping habits.

“It was a reasonable but not spectacular Christmas, indicative of how shoppers will now spread their Christmas spending across more retailers and different channels,” he said.

Christmas retail sales figures
(PA Graphics)

Retailers are now kicking off a January price war, with both Morrisons and Tesco slashing prices on core ranges and all of the big four cutting fuel prices.