Aldi and Lidl now account for £1 in every £8 spent in the UK, with two-thirds of British shoppers visiting the discounters over the last three months.
The German chains are outpacing their bigger rivals as inflation and stagnating wages continue to eat into families’ spare cash, prompting them to seek ways of saving money.
The chains are also rapidly opening new stores while traditional supermarkets have closed outlets as their biggest out of town stores have proved less popular when it’s possible to buy a weekly shop online or save money by picking up fresh goods at local stores only when required.
Lidl was the UK’s fastest growing grocery chain in the three months to 10 September when sales increased 19.2% taking its market share to a new high of 5.3% according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel. It achieved strong sales of fresh and chilled goods including dairy, white and rosé wine.
Despite the strong growth, seasonal fluctuations in trade mean it is now back on a par with Waitrose, where sales rose 2.4%, after over-taking the chain last month.
Aldi’s sales rose 15.6% taking its market share to 6.9%, widening its lead on the Co-op where sales fell back for the second month in a row.
In the past three months almost 63% of shoppers visited one of the discounters, up from 58.5% last year. Their market has risen to 12.2%, a surge from less than 10% only two years ago.
All the major grocery chains are benefiting as food price inflation, which emerged in January this year after more than two years of price falls, remains above 3%. Prices rose 3.2% in the period, partly as a result of the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote. The volume of goods sold also rose, increasing total market sales by 3.6%.
It is the sixth consecutive month in which sales have risen by more than 3% with all four of the major supermarket chains – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – booking an uptick in business.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “We haven’t seen sustained market growth of this kind since May 2013.
The growth came despite disappointing August weather which hit sales of traditional summer foods. Sales of prepared salad fell 6% while both scotch eggs and sun care were down 16%. In contrast the public spent almost £4m on cold treatments in August – an increase of almost £2m on that spent in the same month last year.