Discount Retail Chain Lidl Luxembourg (owned by the German Schwarz gruppe) takes stock of its activities following a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, and presents some data specific to the Luxembourg market in terms of purchasing and consumption. A year ago, customers flocked to the shelves of supermarkets due to growing concerns and uncertainties, resulting from the health situation and a lockdown that was looming. The restrictions imposed by the government have shaken the mass distribution sector. Against this backdrop, Lidl saw an increase in sales of certain product categories, such as fruits and vegetables, cosmetics, and cleaning and household products. On the other hand, the brand has faced a decrease in the number of Luxembourg customers in its stores.
Fewer customers authorized in stores, but increased sales throughout the confinement
Faced with the sanitary measures imposed on the retail sector, Lidl still achieved a +12% increase in turnover compared to the same period last year. In 2020, Luxembourg customers bought almost 30% more fruit and vegetables. The flagship product is bananas, of which the brand sold more than 790,000 kg in 2020. Broccoli (+40%), avocado (+35%) and cucumber (+25%) are the products that have known the strongest growth, in number of parts sold, compared to the previous year.
Julien Wathieu, Lidl spokesperson for Belgium and Luxembourg, specifies that this increase is very reassuring. “We are aware that these figures were strongly influenced by the purchasing behavior of Luxembourgers following the Covid-19 pandemic. We see that customers necessarily spend more time at home during this lockdown period and this automatically influences their purchasing behavior and the products they consume. Thus, we have more time to cook up small dishes and this is reflected in the increase in sales of certain products. We are obviously very satisfied with these results and hope that we will be able to maintain this trend in 2021."
For several weeks, Lidl had to limit the number of customer visits to the strict minimum as well as the time spent in its stores. As a result, Lidl observed a sharp decrease of - 15% in the number of customer visits per store. This trend continued on a lesser scale in the following months. In addition to the number of people in Lidl stores, the brand has seen a decrease in sales of certain product categories, including meat. The sale of wine and beer also fell by -1% and -6% respectively, while spirits saw an increase of + 5%. Prepared meals have had less success.
Pre-containment: cleaning, hygiene and basic necessities were the most in demand
In February, the month before the official announcement of last year's lockdown, consumers also stocked up on basic necessities: pasta, rice, wheat flour and yeast saw a sharp increase of + 18%, while toilet paper and kitchen cleaning paper increased by + 6%, far from the “panic buying” that we have seen in other countries. Lidl data also shows a + 9% increase in laundry products and + 20% in cleaning products. During the pre-containment period, enhanced hygiene has become a priority for many customers.
Other product categories saw a clear increase in sales, including frozen food products made from potatoes (+7%), ice cream (+13%), pizzas, baguettes, pastries and confectionery (+20%), fruits and vegetables (+29%), poultry (+30%) and fish with the largest increase (+32%). This group of articles experienced a +24% increase in turnover.
An increase in the average basket despite the decrease in attendance
Lidl saw an increase in the average basket in 2020. The largest increases occurred in April and May, following the first lockdown announced in March. After this increase, turnover stabilized during the following months, despite the drop in attendance during this year 2020.
“At Lidl, we are doing everything we can - with all of our employees - so that our customers can continue to have an optimal shopping experience in 2021, ” confirms Julien Wathieu.