Which brands are the cheapest in the eyes of the French?

According to a study by Bonial and Editions Dauvers, Lidl is considered by the French to be the cheapest retail chain in the country. For their part, Leclerc hypermarkets would be in the eyes of consumers the most attractive in terms of promotions.

While the question of purchasing power has led thousands of French people to demonstrate in “yellow vests” for a few weeks, the prices and promotions offered on food products remain more than ever at the heart of their commercial strategy for food brands. To assess the perception that the French have of the main hypermarket, supermarket and food discount brands, the specialist in online catalogs and flyers Bonial, as well as that of distribution and consumer goods Olivier Dauvers, have jointly put set up the first Image-price and Image-promo Observatory. In addition to the reality of price indices, often calculated by panels, with this second wave of evaluation of the Observatory, it is more a question of measuring the way in which this reality is perceived by the French.

Lidl, perceived as the cheapest

Almost two years after its change of positioning towards a local supermarket, Lidl comes in first position ahead of its competitors, in terms of price image perception by the French, with a score evaluated at 7.4 out of 10. By being perceived as the least dear to the French, the former hard-discount thus achieves the feat of moving upmarket while maintaining the most attractive price image.

Price image observatory – Price image ranking of retail chains. Bonial

Leclerc, who has been arriving for years among the panelists at the head of the cheapest brands, loses this prominent place in terms of the perception of the French. Even if Leclerc retains a solid price attractiveness, with a score of 7.3 out of 10, the brand still loses its first place tied with Lidl, awarded by the first wave of the Observatory a few months ago.

With a score of 6.9, Aldi takes third place in the ranking, ahead of the famous Intermarché and Carrefour stores (6.7). It is thus the Auchan hypermarkets which close the top 5, with a price image evaluated at 6.6 out of 10.

For the consumer expert Olivier Dauvers, “Lidl, through its commodity policy, objectively has the lowest average price of the offer”. But “beyond the price war on the big brands, L’Observatoire thus recalls the role that the assortment plays in the construction of the price image”, adds the expert.

Leclerc, best promotional image

A major factor in attracting consumers, the French believe that Leclerc offers the best promotions on the market, with a promotion image evaluated at 7.2. The brand thus takes a slight lead over its competitor Lidl, which obtains a score of 7.1.

Bonial

However, on the criterion of the incentive nature of the promotion to go to the store, the French put the two brands on an equal footing, which thus fared well with a score of 7 out of 10. Thus, it seems that among the hypermarkets, in which customers fill their tanks for the week, Leclerc is still far ahead of its competitors Auchan, Intermarché, Carrefour or Hyper U. For their part, Auchan and Aldi share respectively 3rd and 4th place of the classification with a score of 6.9 and 6.8.

However, the cards of this last classification could be reshuffled within a few months, with the entry into force of the EGA law (States General of Food), which prohibits excessive promotions, in volume as well as in value. This constraint, which mainly affects intensive promotion brands, in particular hypermarkets such as Leclerc or Auchan, are therefore very affected by this change. In this context, “distributors will surely have to do better personalized and individualized promotions, on items that speak more to consumers, particularly through digital”, concludes the president of Bonial. However, in the delicate context of the “yellow vests” movement,

Successful advertising strategies

For food distributors, advertising remains an essential communication lever. In 2017, total spending on advertising amounted to around 1.7 billion euros, an increase of 8.4% compared to 2016. “What we see with this Observatory is that consumers are very familiar with well the strategies of supermarkets. For Lidl, we see at the macro scale a good correlation between its significant advertising investment over the last two years and the impact on its price image ”, explains the president of Bonial, Matthias Berahya-Lazarus, at Figaro.

Last year, Lidl was indeed the brand that spent the most on advertising in France. According to Kantar Media, the German group has invested more than 354 million euros gross, to make its slogan “the true price of good things” reason across the country. Very obstructed by the players in mass distribution, the brand’s very offensive advertising strategy seems to be bearing fruit.

Intermarché is also distinguished by its substantial advertising budget, which in particular increased by more than 43% between 2016 and 2017. Advertising spending for the Mousquetaires banner reached 314 million euros last year. As the Christmas and New Year festivities approach, advertising remains an essential driving force for mass retailers, who increasingly rely on long-format spots telling a life story.

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