Premium stores win out as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose top; Tesco falls; Aldi & Lidl most improved
YouGov’s BrandIndex bi-annual ranking of consumer brands shows that when it comes to supermarkets, premium reigns supreme; Marks & Spencer takes prime position, while ‘big four’ supermarket Sainsbury’s comes in a close second and Waitrose takes third place.
Four supermarkets have moved rank since 2011: beleaguered Tesco drops down two places -- from fifth to seventh position, while The Co-operative moves up to fifth; Ocado moves up one place, while Aldi drops down to tenth.
Since 2011, Marks & Spencer has remained top of the supermarket sector, and for good reasons too: the ‘Dine in for £10’ promotion proved so successful that M&S extended it to run twice monthly as well as adapt it for special occasions; while a programme of store refurbishments around the UK appear to have re-invigorated the brand and its offering.
Sainsbury’s – the UK’s second most highly-rated supermarket and the favourite of the ‘Big 4’—has been able to strike a balance between offering affordability and quality. The supermarket’s ‘Brand Match’ scheme proved successful in the ‘Big 4’ price war, keeping consumers happy and reinforcing itself as a competitive alternative to the other three supermarkets. Sainsbury’s convenience and online offerings further add to its growth in the market.
Waitrose recently challenged the ‘Big 4’ on price with its ‘Brand Price Match’ scheme, extending the range included in the scheme from 1,000 to 7,000 branded products. In addition, its ‘essential Waitrose’ range has helped promote an image of affordable quality to consumers. Reputed to be more in touch with its customer base, Waitrose has been able to specifically cater to that group, without alienating other key consumer targets. A revamped website has also led to improved usability as well as a growth in sales.
Discount supermarkets, such as Aldi and Lidl, have been able to improve their image this year, which in turn has led to improved Index scores. There has been significant growth in the discount supermarket sector in the recession, amongst higher-income shoppers as well as more generally.
Aldi tops the improvers' ranking, with an increase in Index score of 5.77 – an extremely significant rise. The supermarket has made an effort to promote its British range in an effort to change the perception that it stocks predominantly continental products. Aldi also benefits from garnering high loyalty amongst its shoppers.
Lidl too has benefitted from the recession – especially amongst higher-income shoppers. In a bid to attract more custom, the discount supermarket has brought in more brands that are familiar to the UK market. Lidl’s rise in Index is not surprising – it is tipped to soon become a ‘superbrand’.