Hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl have been grabbing the headlines recently, with new space, new sales and new industry awards. That means the success of their variety discounter counterparts, or 'discount stores' can often be overshadowed, despite impressive growth.
So who are the shoppers fuelling this growth? And what can variety discounters do to encourage them to spend more?
We at him! have spoken to shoppers at Poundland, Poundstretcher, B&M, Home Bargains, 99p Stores and Wilko. We found 57% of UK adults use variety discounters in a typical week, with >1-in-2 of them sitting in the ABC1 demographic - a huge increase on 37% a year ago.
There has been a considerable shift in higher income households using variety discounters, just as we’ve seen them now using Aldi and Lidl regularly. Any stigma is slowly disappearing and they are becoming just another retailer, albeit trusted for a more limited range of missions and categories.
Variety discount shoppers tend to be younger than supermarket or hard dicounter shoppers: 30% are under 34, versus 20% at Aldi and Lidl. Some 66% of 18 to 24-year-olds say they have visited a variety discounter.
Poundland has been especially successful in pulling in younger shoppers - 31% of those surveyed had visited a Poundland in the past week, up from 26% a year ago. This growth was not only driven by shoppers in the 25-34 age group, but also by more male shoppers - 44% of its shoppers are male, up from 37% a year ago.
The younger age of variety discount shoppers can be explained by the most popular shopper missions and categories - top-up (31%), and deal hunting (24%). But grocery is crucial. Some 57% of shoppers buy confectionery, 54% packaged grocery, 48% health & beauty, 40% household, 40% crisps & snacks, and 33% soft drinks. The food and drink shoppers buy is much less about fresh and chilled, which have become the big footfall drivers for Aldi and Lidl. Variety discounters could also look at food to go - bought by only 8% of shoppers.