More Australians are shopping at ALDI
The German-owned grocery giant continues to grab a share from Coles and Woolworths.
People get surprisingly passionate about supermarkets. A friend of mine point-blank refuses to shop at ALDI, purely because you have to bag your own purchases.
Clearly she's in something of a minority. ALDI is the fastest-growing of the supermarket chains operating in Australia. In 2015, it accounted for 12.1% of the annual total supermarket space by dollar volume, according to Roy Morgan. That's a long way behind Woolworths (37.5%) and Coles (32.2%), but ahead of IGA (9.7%).
It's an impressive result, especially given that ALDI is not yet a completely nationwide chain -- it only debuted in South Australia in 2015 and will launch in Western Australia this year. Back in December 2007, ALDI had just over 5% of the market.
Dollar values don't tell the whole story either, because many of us don't just choose a single local supermarket and stick with it. As Roy Morgan's analysis points out: "In an average four-week period, 5.3 million Australian consumers shop at ALDI, 10.5 million shop at Woolworths, 10 million shop at Coles and just over 4 million shop at IGA, while almost 4 million frequent other supermarkets. Some 37.1% of these shoppers visit at least one Coles, one Woolies and one other supermarket during this time." In other words, when it comes to supermarkets, we'll happily hit multiple stores in order to score bargains or pick up items we can't get elsewhere.
None of which will stop shoppers passionately arguing about the merits of the various chains. For every person who vehemently denounces ALDI's approach of only selling store brand goods, you'll find another who argues that ALDI's store brands are better than Coles Smart Buy or Woolworths Home Brand. (Woolies is rebranding Home Brand as Essentials, and we assume the tins will get even shinier while the contents remain identical.)
The rational approach to buying cheaper "generic" goods is to try the products before you make a judgement. Some store brand lines are good value (I don't need to pay more for red kidney beans), and some are decidedly inferior (Home Brand toilet paper doesn't do it for me).
However, as we've already noted, our supermarket shopping decisions often aren't rational. Given that Australians spend $89 billion in supermarkets each year, that's a pity.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.
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