Most Connected Brands 2020 – Lidl (13th)

Lidl gets larger

It has been another very good year for Lidl.

In March, the supermarket was named the UK’s fastest growing grocer with reported sales increasing by 11.4% in the first quarter after a record-breaking Christmas season. The opening of its 800th store in the UK earlier this year after an ambitious expansion period saw the supermarket chain climb five places in our Most Connected Brands Index to 13th and overtake rival Tesco for the first time. In 2020, Lidl has increased its popularity and scored above the supermarket average for each brand measure.

But we can’t talk about one without the other and by that we mean, Aldi.

Aldi remains Lidl’s strongest competitor in the category having retained the highest placing for a supermarket in the MCB Index at number nine. Whilst Aldi performs well across all four brand key metrics, Lidl has improved its Emotion rating on last year, whereas Aldi has suffered a slight decline.

Emotional connection with Lidl has been driven by consumers’ strong endorsement of associations such as having ‘values and ideals that I can relate to’, ‘representing someone like me’ and ‘knowing what’s important to me’.

Price is also, of course, a big factor in supermarket choice, hence the overall performance of the discounters in the MCB Index. It is therefore no surprise that Lidl scores highly for ‘value for money’ and offering ‘great promotional offers’.

In terms of demographic differences in consumer perceptions of the brand, there has been a significant improvement in perceptions of Lidl amongst younger consumers, climbing 14 places on last year’s result in the 18-34-year-old age group rankings. However, the key audience for Lidl continue to be 35-54 year-olds who alone place Lidl as the top performing supermarket in the MCB Index. This age group give the brand the highest endorsement for Popularity, Buzz, Value for Money and second highest score in social responsibility behind the Co-op.

However, it’s common knowledge that Coronavirus has had a drastic impact on supermarket sentiment and so what has this meant for Lidl?

After re-interviewing consumers to understand the impact the pandemic has had on the UK’s Most Connected Brands, there have been a number of shifts in supermarket placing. Unfortunately for Lidl there has been a fall in overall ranking, dropping 11 places with scores for measures such as ‘giving me what I need’ and ‘social responsibility’ seeing the greatest decline.

Whilst key competitor Aldi has also fallen down the rankings, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland and Co-op have all gained on their former positions. Although the current situation we find ourselves in isn’t permanent, possible longterm effects of recent experiences mean the same can’t be said for consumer behaviour. Consumer expectations now extend further than resonating with brand values and discounted prices. Lidl will need to adapt quickly and rebuild its strategy to account for new customer demands in order to retake the footfall it may have lost to ‘traditional’ and local supermarkets over the course of the pandemic.

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