Low choice, food inflation… Why Lidl is slipping in 2023

Low choice, food inflation… Why Lidl is slipping in 2023

By talking about Lidl as a discounter “which never stops rising”, we ended up thinking that this progression would be endless. Error ! While the German brand has been constantly nibbling market share since 2017, the trend has reversed this year. “Between September 2022 and September 2023, Lidl increased its market share from 7.4 to 7.1%,” confirms Gaëlle Le Floch, marketing director at Kantar Worldpanel.

The first reason is almost mechanical: after increasing the number of store openings, which automatically increase the number of customers, the pace has slowed down. And for good reason: with nearly 1,700 points of sale, which offer an average of 3,200 references, the discounter’s territorial coverage is now considered correct. “With a penetration rate greater than 50% of the population, close to that of Leclerc, Lidl can hardly do better,” judges mass distribution expert Frank Rosenthal.

“The strongest increase in average price per item”

But the high food inflation of the last two years has also seriously penalized it: “It is among them that the increase in the average price per item has been the greatest,” estimates Gaëlle Le Floch. And for good reason: while national brand products include communications, marketing, etc. expenses. in their costs, nothing like that in private label items (MDD), the price of which has appreciated in the wake of the increase in raw materials, in particular.

Lidl, which has 90% private label items, was hit hard. The small number of references, which limits the choices, has also had a negative impact: “In other brands, when they want to continue to buy Italian ham, but at a lower cost, consumers have other options, because there are private labels, but also branded products on promotion, even first prices, explains Frank Rosenthal. Whereas at Lidl, if that same ham increases by 15% and a customer finds it too expensive, they will not find an alternative. »

Finally, if the German discounter remains the champion of advertising spending in France, this expert believes that its current slogan, “the true price of good things”, is less audible than before, “because people no longer really know what is a right price », he analyzes. The brand’s new operational boss in France, Thiago Almeida, is counting on new shock promotional offers, as well as other initiatives to come, “early 2024”, to restart the machine.

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