UK’s Big 4 Supermarkets Lose Market Share

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A market research company, Kantar Worldpanel, has recently released a study on market shares of supermarkets in the UK.

3 of the ‘Big 4’, Tesco, Asda and Morrison’s, have lost a percentage of their market share according to this study. The only supermarket that did not is Sainsbury’s whose percentage increased by 0.2% to a total of 16.6% market share.

Tesco is still the most dominant supermarket of the four but lost 0.7% of its market share and is now down to a total of 30.2%.

The study also revealed that ‘The Co-Op’ was the worst performing supermarket with only a 0.3% increase in sales. In addition, it has also accumulated a total of £1.5 billion in debt.

Waitrose supermarket performed well increasing to an overall 9.7%.

In the first 6 months of this year the ‘Big 4’ dominated the market with a shared 76.2% market dominance, however it seems that this is changing.

These large supermarkets are having trouble competing against discount and bargain supermarkets such as Aldi whose sales grew 32.7 percent in the last 12 weeks. This is the highest increase it has seen in its history. Aldi’s market share also increased from 2.9% to 3.7%.

The director of Kantar Worldpanel, Edward Garner, said “Strong performances by retailers at both ends of the market pose a significant challenge for the big four supermarkets. “The combined growth of Lidl, Aldi and Waitrose has taken three market share points out of the grocery market over the past three years and is forcing the major supermarkets to compete for an ever-smaller middle ground. Price match promotions such as Asda’s ‘Price Guarantee’, Sainsbury’s ‘Brand Match’ and Tesco’s ‘Price Promise’ have meant that price is less of a differentiator and shoppers cannot be convinced to switch outlets based on cost alone.”

Equine Meat Scandals

In addition to the fierce competition that the ‘Big 4’ are facing, in January of this year evidence that horse DNA was present in beef products sold at these supermarkets was revealed.

Upon further investigation some products were found to contain 60% and even 100% horse meat in products marketed as beef products.

This situation gained global coverage and continued to escalate as more information was revealed.

One of Tesco’s suppliers ABP Food was dropped as a supplier due to claims that it was supplying horse meat. Once this was made public knowledge Tesco lost €360 million.

In addition traces of swine meat was found in many products which caused a public outcry from the Muslim and Jewish communities.

Many supermarkets are still trying to regain their consumers trust and some have implemented an internal DNA testing system to ensure the highest quality goods in the future.