The supermarkets that grew the most in Spain in 2020 were Lidl ... and Amazon

Lidl and Amazon were the big winners of Spanish distribution in the year of the pandemic, according to data shared this Tuesday by the consulting firm Kantar. The German chain sneaks into the top 3 by market share for the first time, behind Mercadona and Carrefour, growing 0.5% over the previous year. Amazon, for its part, stands out in the digital channel, where it has a 5.8% share and grows 1.7% compared to 2019.

"Consumers have finally given their trust to Amazon. It is a very important step forward," said Florencio García, director of retail of the consultant. "From now on, we will talk about him as an outstanding player in distribution." Amazon's data does not include fresh food, a category in which neighborhood stores and regional supermarkets stood out.

Kantar does not share data from the rest of the supermarkets in the digital channel, but points out that, in addition to Amazon, El Corte Inglés is doing well. "It is the supermarket in which electronic commerce weighs the most over the total," says the expert.

The panorama that the coronavirus leaves in the sector is novel. Spaniards spent 12.7% more on food than in 2019 and expanded their purchase options. They approached traditional stores and markets, but also gave an opportunity to online commerce. Internet is the medium that grows the most in 2020, 62%, followed by regional supermarkets (+ 17%) and specialist stores (+ 13.2%). All in all, electronic commerce continues to have a small weight over the total: it accounts for 2.6% of share, compared to 38% for the supermarket and stores. Although some chains lose share, the results of the year are positive for all.

The rise of alternatives caused people to be unfaithful to their old brand. The most affected in this regard was Mercadona. The Valencian company continues to be the leader - and by far - in Spain, but it leaves a 1.1% share and 1% loyalty. It is the first year that it decreases. In addition to the fact that its customers have tried other stores and now do not just go to Mercadona, the supermarket has a problem with fresh produce, where its share falls even more. "It has lost 55 million occasions of buying fresh products throughout the year", explained García. "We expect a reaction in the coming months to return to its growth path."

You can do this by making an effort to improve fresh produce, take away food, opening more stores where it is not strong (in the Basque Country, Asturias and Galicia, although they are "difficult markets because regional ones are strong" and has said that it is not going to do), trying to scratch ecommerce share, and as a last resort, entering the price war. "It is the most obvious way, especially seeing what their competition, Lidl and Aldi, do. But their positioning has always been more to do the entire purchase and have a good price to go unit by unit", considers García. A OCU study It found that Mercadona was, together with Supersol and Eroski, the chain that increased prices the most in panemia.

Lidl and Aldi are consolidated as alternatives in large distribution. The positioning is in price, but they also capitalize on consumer trends and bet on communication. Aldi is still small in share (1.3%) and Lidl breaks into third position. "They are phenomena with many similarities. We can stick with the price campaigns, which are their leitmotif, but success includes communication, the opening of stores and the commitment to lead all trends: eco and bio food, textiles and beauty. In addition, they have increased the weight of manufacturer's brands on their shelves so that the baskets are larger. "

The panelist anticipates a 2021 balance between "captivating the pocket and the heart" of consumers. The Spanish reacted after the confinement to the idea that neighborhood commerce should be supported and some chains have incorporated little flags to indicate the origin of each product. "It is a moment in which each act of purchase is more valuable than ever, the Spanish household chooses between all the options at its disposal and formulas that do not appeal only to physical proximity, but also to the creation of a bond, triumph," Zanja García . "This balance should mark the strategies in 2021."


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