Aldi and Lidl struggling to build loyalty with UK shoppers despite ever  growing market share

ICLP survey reveals that Aldi and Lidl have not built well-rounded

relationships with their customers even as they continue to grow, while

Tesco and Sainsbury’s are seen as the most rewarding supermarkets by their

regular shoppers

London, UK – Loyalty marketing agency, ICLP reveals that when it comes to

supermarkets, UK shoppers have much stronger and deeper relationships with

Tesco and Sainsbury’s than they do with discounters, Aldi and Lidl. ICLP

surveyed over 1,000 UK consumers and found that Tesco shoppers (37%) and

Sainsbury’s shoppers (34%) were more than twice as likely to say that they

felt that their custom and loyalty was rewarded than Lidl shoppers (16%)

Aldi shoppers (9%).

Furthermore, 34% of Sainsbury’s shoppers and 31% of Tesco shoppers feel

that they are rewarded by offers tailored to them, while just 3% of Aldi

shoppers and 4% of Lidl shoppers felt this way. According to Nielsen, the

two discounters now account for a combined 12.3% of the UK grocery market, a

figure which has been on an ever upward trajectory for years. However, the

inability to build rewarding and reciprocal relationships with their

customers show a potential long term vulnerability for the two challenger


While Aldi and Lidl ranked highly when it came to trust in discounts and

offers (63% for Aldi and 52% for Lidl), consumers did not trust these

supermarkets with their personal data and did not feel that they would get

anything back in exchange if they shared this information. Only 26% of Aldi

shoppers and 20% of Lidl shoppers said that they felt their personal data

would be treated with respect (compared with 52% at Sainsbury’s and 35% at

Tesco), and only 9% of Aldi shoppers, and 4% of Lidl shoppers thought that

they would get something in return for sharing their information (compared

with 31% at Sainsbury’s and 26% at Tesco). While Aldi and Lidl are reaping

the rewards as UK incomes are squeezed by inflation, they are failing to

build long term brand loyalty that extends outside of offering low prices.

Thanks to Tesco’s Clubcard and Sainsbury’s Nectar reward programmes,

shoppers at these supermarkets felt that their repeat custom was being

recognised and rewarded, although both are still falling short of building

deeply devoted relationships, and hence are still losing customers to their

discounter rivals. Working with Professor Rogge from the University of

Rochester, ICLP applied Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love to the

relationships that shoppers have with brands. According to this model, a

deeply devoted relationship is one that involves commitment, intimacy, and

passion. 13% of Sainsbury’s shoppers were found to have a devoted

relationship with the brand, whereas none of the Aldi shoppers surveyed were

in a devoted relationship.

Nonetheless, 71% of Brits who named a supermarket in ICLP’s survey still

believe that their loyalty is not being rewarded by their selected retailer

including market leaders Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Meanwhile, a total lack of

reward programmes at Aldi have meant that only 1 in 4 of their shoppers said

that they felt valued and not just like another customer, while Lidl’s

relatively new ‘My Lidl’ programme is yet to shift consumer opinions

when it comes to loyalty.

As part of the research, ICLP asked shoppers questions in order to ascertain

how they felt about the relationships they had with particular brands that

they considered to be their preferred retailers. The results demonstrated


• Reward programmes are falling short across the board: 71% of Brits do

not feel that their loyalty is rewarded by their named supermarket. Tesco

was revealed as the top supermarket in ICLP’s research, with 37% saying

that they felt that their custom and loyalty was rewarded, closely followed

by 34% at Sainsbury’s. This figure dropped to 9% for Aldi and 16% for Lidl

• Supermarkets are not making the most of personal data: Only 1 in 4 Brits

believe that they get something back when they share their personal

information with their preferred supermarket brand. Consumers’ trust in

protecting personal data varied across the supermarket sector. 52% of

Sainsbury’s shoppers and 35% of Tesco shoppers said that their personal

information was treated with respect and that they benefited from sharing it

with them, compared to 26% of Aldi shoppers, and 20% of Lidl shoppers

• Trust in discounts and offers is low: Only 1 in 3 UK shoppers believe

that their preferred retailer is always honest in the way that they discount

their products. Aldi and Lidl were the most trusted supermarkets, with 63%

and 52% of their shoppers respectively saying that they were honest in their


• Supermarket shoppers don’t feel special or unique: Only 31% of UK

shoppers say that their preferred supermarket brand makes them feel valued

and not just like another customer. Similarly, 69% said that they were not

appreciated by their preferred brand, even if they were a regular customer

Jason De Winne, General Manager at ICLP, commented: “The battle of

supermarket customer acquisition has been raging for years, but with

challengers Aldi and Lidl, the focus has shifted from customer acquisition

to retention. The UK’s longer standing supermarkets are unlikely to

benefit from engaging in a never-ending price war, and Aldi and Lidl have

already built strong brand recognition for their deep discounts and no

frills service. While their market share has reached impressive new heights,

Aldi and Lidl lack a well-rounded relationship with their customers.

“UK shoppers want their supermarkets to reward them better and to make

them feel like individuals, not just like everyone else. To keep customers

coming back, supermarkets need to put in place loyalty programmes that use

personal data to deliver bespoke rewards, recognition, and money-can’t-buy

experiences. Across the sector, supermarkets have a huge opportunity to

build truly devoted relationships with their shoppers by rethinking their

reward programmes and go beyond simple points collecting.”