But the discounters are playing a different game. The typical Aldi, Lidl and Netto shopper probably doesn’t eat out very often and is always pressured to feed the family on a budget. So for them, the credit crunch is biting even harder.
At a Netto store opening in Tamworth yesterday, it was clear that the discount shopper is constantly on the hunt for special offers but, above all, they need constant low prices.
One shopper at the front of the 100-people strong queue said she was queuing for the 12 ft paddling pool with pump, at the special opening price of£19.99. She said she’d seen a similar pool in another supermarket for£150.
Others were looking to bulk buy on the staples, with opening offers of 99p for Daz washing powder,£9.99 for a 10kg bag of Basmati rice and£2.49 for nine rolls of Andrex toilet paper all proving popular.
These shoppers could be described as time rich, cash poor. They saw that Netto was opening in their area, got hold of a copy of their promotional brochure and then compared the prices with their usual shops. They then took the time to queue so they could get the promotional products they wanted and to have a look at the price of their everyday items such as milk, bread and potatoes.
Netto shoppers know the prices of everything. Food inflation has obviously hit the discounters too and if the price of one of their regular products changes by even 1p they will notice it. Not only will they notice, they will then go to the nearby competitor supermarkets to check whether Netto is still the cheapest, then return to buy it if that’s the case.
The discounters have a tough job to keep prices as low as possible in this difficult climate because their shoppers are savvy and have the time to shop around. For discounters it’s not about getting shoppers to trade down to their stores, it’s about making sure staple items are affordable and shoppers can still buy all the essentials to feed their families.
Netto and its rivals are committed to their loyal customers, but if the climate gets tougher and more shoppers try out discounters, they could also be in with a chance of securing new customers for life if their offer is such good value.