Research - 28.10.2011 - 00:00 

Aldi successful in Switzerland

On 27 October 2005, Aldi opened its first four stores in Switzerland. At the time, the hard discount concept was regarded as highly unlikely to be successful – wrongly, as a study by the IRM-HSG reveals.


27 October 2011. The way in which discounters are assessed by consumers and managers today has been examined by Maximilian Weber and Prof. Dr. Thomas Rudolph at the Competence Centre for Retail Branding of the Institute of Retail Management of the University of St.Gallen (IRM-HSG). With the help of HSG students, the researchers interviewed 400 people in the pedestrian precincts of German-speaking Switzerland, as well as just under 200 managers occupying senior positions in Swiss industrial and retail companies.

Great impact of Aldi and Lidl

More than half of the managers interviewed assume today that Aldi’s and Lidl’s market activities will result in substantial changes in the Swiss retail trade in the coming two years. Three years ago, only 31% forecast big changes. Moreover, 36% of the managers are convinced that Aldi and Lidl are being underestimated by domestic retail managers. Almost one in three interviewees considers the hard discounters to be serious competitors for established Swiss retailers. This assessment, too, has become more widespread since the 2008 survey.

One in four regularly shops at a discount store

The survey revealed that 27% of consumers shop at a food discount store at list once a month. Nonetheless, Migros and Coop remain the most popular stores. However, the discounters are chiefly visited for supplementary shopping. The favourable prices are the primary reasons why consumers shop at discounters. The Migros and Coop supermarkets surpass expectations with regard to accessibility, store design and personnel. However, this does not prevent consumers from shopping at discounters. Satisfaction no longer appears to be sufficient to ensure customer loyalty. Other surveys conducted by the Institute of Retail Management with real purchasing data have arrived at similar results.

Picture: Photocase / Giftgrün

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