A new report from Catalina shows incumbent stores’ produce categories suffered the most when Lidl came to town.

But the good news is for those existing retailers, the sales impact recovered relatively quickly.

The report, “Defending Supermarket Share When Lidl Comes to Town,” studied behavior at more than 80 supermarkets within 30 miles of Lidl stores that opened in 2017. It tracked shopper behavior across departments and demographic groups during the first 16 weeks of Lidl openings.

In the first month, sales dropped 6.8% at these stores. By the fourth month, most incumbents had recovered to less than 2% sales loss.

Produce, beer and wine were the largest chunk of those sales losses – 60% of total lost sales.

“The huge impact on these departments was impressive,” the study said, “given that they account for just 16% of average sales in grocery stores.”

The study also examined shopper behavior segmented by loyalty, ethnicity and income.

Surprisingly, considering Lidl’s reputation as a deep discounter, income was not a factor in incumbent grocer sales loss. Sales declines were spread evenly across income groups, the study found.

“Lidl has positioned itself to appeal to both high- and low-income shoppers with its discount pricing structure and product assortment, which includes healthy, premium and organic products,” the report said.

Other demographic insights:

  • Hispanic shoppers like Lidl – sales declines among this ethnic group were more than twice as high as average;
  • African Americans also showed higher than average declines;
  • Younger adults were slightly more likely to shop at Lidl, while seniors 65 and older were not;
  • Households with children shopped more often at Lidl, with households with five or more members accounting for 25% greater losses than those with four or fewer.

Want to see more? Download a copy of the report here.


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