Grocery shoppers will be hunting for luxury at low prices this Christmas after more than a third of British shoppers visited Aldi in the last 12 weeks.

Data released today by Kantar Worldpanel showed Aldi’s market share gains continued unabated as it reached a record 3.9% after enjoying a 31.1% rise in sales in the 12 weeks to November 10.

Rival Lidl stepped up its growth, as sales rose 13.8% and it clocked a market share of 3%, up from 2.7% a year ago.

Waitrose also continued to enjoy strong growth, with sales up 8.8% in the period and its market share up to 4.8% from 4.6% last year.

Sainsbury’s remained the strongest performer of the big four grocers, with sales up 2.6%, however its market share edged down to 16.8% from 16.9% last year.

Morrisons’ sales rose 1.5% - despite its market share falling to 11.5% from 11.7%. Earlier this month chief executive Dalton Philips promised Morrisons would return to like-for-like growth in the fourth quarter after enjoying strong momentum in October.

Archrivals Tesco and Asda recorded sales rises of 0.7% and 0.8% respectively and notched up market shares of 29.8% and 17.2%.

Kantar said Tesco’s relaunched premium Finest range grew 16% year-on-year while Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range sales rose 12%. 

The Co-operative’s sales fell 0.4% and the embattled mutual – which yesterday launched a group-wide review into its corporate governance – holds a market share of 6.3%, down from 6.5% last year.

Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner said: “The number of shoppers visiting Aldi has grown by 16% year-on-year at the same time as the average basket size has swelled by nearly 15%. In fact, almost a third of British households have shopped in Aldi in the past 12 weeks. 

“Although in the shadow of Aldi’s performance, Lidl’s sales growth of 13.8% also remains strong.  In direct contrast, sales of premium products have also increased significantly over the past year. This Christmas shoppers will be seeking both luxury and lower prices.”

James Russell, commercial director for discount specialist Rowan, said: “This is due to several factors: firstly, discounters have improved their products, as evidenced by the slew of taste tests Aldi has won this year. Secondly, they are beginning to compete on service - B&M have begun supermarket-style bagging, for example.

“Thirdly, we are seeing a change in consumer shopping habits, as more people do their weekly shop in multiple outlets, a trend encouraged by the rise in the convenience store sector.”