Study: Lidl is serious threat to U.S. incumbent food retailers

A new survey is at odds with several industry reports that put a negative spin on discount grocer Lidl's early performance in the United States.

Global management consultancy Oliver Wyman surveyed grocery shoppers both before and after they had shopped at Lidl. It found that 56% of all first-time surveyed Lidl shoppers said they will shop there more frequently in the future versus 39% saying that prior to the stores opening. The survey, which was conducted in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, also revealed that the most popular current preferred grocer of Lidl first-time Lidl shoppers was Walmart (25.2%), followed by Food Lion (17.2%) and Harris Teeter (11. 2%). Only 9% of the first-time Lidl shoppers considered discounter Aldi as their main grocer.

"We found that customers favor Lidl not only for its value and private label, but also for its fresh produce and assortment," Oliver Wyman stated.

The firm said that Lidl’s appeal is economically broad, with income brackets matched well with those for incumbent grocers. It noted that these early findings, combined with Lidl’s success in entering 20 other countries, underscores Lidl as a serious threat to U.S. incumbent food retailers.

"We are urging food retailers to take action as far as 24 months ahead of Lidl’s entry into their market," stated Oliver Wyman. "Customers, and their potential attraction to Lidl (and Aldi), are the prize that is at stake."

For more insights by Oliver Wyman on Lidl’s disruption to the US grocery market, click here.