Shoppers switching supermarkets en masse


Savvy shoppers are paying close attention to supermarket price wars and almost one in four have voted with their feet in the last year.

Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Aussie shoppers and found that 50% believe they could save on grocery costs by switching supermarkets. And 23% have decided to change where they do the bulk of their shopping.

supermarket story

A significant 71% pay close attention to supermarket promotions and 35% said the cost of essentials like milk and bread determines where they shop.

Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle, said consumers are becoming increasingly price-conscious and are open to the idea of switching supermarkets if they think it will save them money.

“Some people simply can’t overlook the convenience of shopping at the closest supermarket to their home or workplace,” she said. “Most consumers like to be familiar with the layout of their local store and the products it sells, so it takes a lot to make someone switch.

Reasons for supermarket loyalty

  • Convenience 37%
  • Familiarity with store layout 17%
  • Enjoyment of rewards programs 15%
  • Perception of being cheapest 12%
  • Favouring of products for sale 11%
  • Out of habit 6%

“But increasing competition from physical and online retailers has opened many people’s eyes to potential savings. If your friends or family keep talking about the money they save at another supermarket, eventually you’re going to try it for yourself.”

Reasons for switching supermarket

  • To save money 50%
  • Better quality products 15%
  • Convenience (12%)
  • Attracted to rewards program (11%)
  • Not sure why (8%)
  • Attracted by advertising 2%

Saving money was the greatest motivation for switching, regardless of which supermarket consumers actually switched to. But while three-quarters of those who switched to ALDI did so to reduce costs, other factors were more common for those who switched to other supermarkets. Shoppers who switched to Coles, Woolworths or IGA were most likely to have done so for loyalty programs or convenience, while those who changed to IGA or Foodland were most likely to have done so for better quality products. Those who switched to Foodland were also the most likely to have done so because they were impressed by advertising.

How much do we spend at the supermarket?

The average weekly supermarket spend of survey respondents was $138, with those aged in their 40s spending the most.

There were also some subtle variations between supermarkets, with ALDI shoppers spending the least and IGA customers the most.

Supermarket chain   ALDI           Coles        Foodland  IGA   Woolworths
$ spend per week $126 $134             $134 $150          $142

Source: Reported weekly spend of 2921 survey respondents.

Who is switching and why?

While 23% of adults have switched supermarkets in the last year, those aged in their 30s were the most likely to look elsewhere for their groceries (30%), Along with those aged 18-29, they were also the most convinced that savings could be made by taking their money elsewhere (56%). And those in their 30s and 40s were the most likely to closely follow special offers (75%).

The survey found that ALDI shoppers were the most likely to be using a different supermarket than they did a year ago, while Woolworths customers were the most likely to think savings could be made by switching.

Supermarket chain   ALDI           Coles        Foodland  IGA   Woolworths
% switched in last year 26% 23%             16%  17%          22%

Source: Reported outcomes of 2921 survey respondents.

Supermarket chain   ALDI           Coles        Foodland  IGA   Woolworths
% could save switching 17% 51%             41%  53%          57%

Source: Reported outcomes of 2921 survey respondents.

Supermarket chain   ALDI           Coles        Foodland  IGA   Woolworths
% follow promotions 68% 74%             67%  58%          71%

Source: Reported outcomes of 2921 survey respondents.

Overall 44% of adults said they tend to buy private label brands rather than the big name brands, with 59% of the opinion that the cheaper products are just as good. ALDI shoppers were the most likely to agree on both counts.

Meanwhile three-quarters of survey respondents said it’s important to them to buy locally produced food, with Foodland shoppers the most likely to agree (84%). But overall 46% said price is more important to them than the origin of products, with ALDI customers the most likely to put price first (52%).

But do we shop around?

While almost one in four adults have changed where they do the bulk of their grocery shopping, just 72% said they always shop at the same supermarket chain, with those who shop at Coles or Woolworths the most likely to remain loyal.

Supermarket chain   ALDI           Coles        Foodland  IGA   Woolworths
% always shop at same 67% 74%             65%  63%          73%

Source: Reported outcomes of 2921 survey respondents.

“Even if they don’t completely switch, consumers are closely following the supermarket price wars and don’t mind taking their money elsewhere on occasions,” said Mrs Doyle. “It appears we are loyal to our budgets, not our supermarkets.”

Which supermarket chain do consumers rate highest?

Survey respondents were asked to score the supermarket chain they use for the bulk of their shopping across a range of research criteria, forming Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings.

South Australian chain Foodland impressed across most categories, but ALDI was the only one to achieve top marks for overall satisfaction – taking out Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers Award for the second year in a row.

Drivers of supermarket satisfaction

  • Value for money 23%
  • Store layout and presentation 15%
  • Range of products 15%
  • Customer service and availability of staff 11%
  • Special offers 9%
  • Quality of private label products 6%

“Consumers want good product variety and good store layout, but ultimately they want value for money – and they’re convinced ALDI currently offers that,” said Mrs Doyle.

Click here to read our full supermarket ratings report.

Share this article