Aldi is considering a move into UK online retailing, which would bring a further challenge to major supermarkets.
The growth in online sales and at small local stores has been a saving grace to the ‘big four’ UK supermarkets. Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s have been able to offset the decline in large supermarket sales this way.
Online sales of groceries are expected to become the fastest growing section of the market within the UK. It is expected to double in value during the period from 2014 to 2019, to reach £17bn or 8% of the market.
Until now, Aldi and Lidl were not expected to enter the online market as their business model is to keep things efficient and simple in a bid to maintain low prices. Although Aldi has sold alcohol online in Australia since 2013, it has not yet tried an online service within Europe. It is believed that the group is considering different options in the UK, but no timetable has been released for a launch of the service.
An Aldi UK spokesman stated that this is not an immediate focus, however the potential is being monitored.
Aldi is looking at launching the service within the UK as around 5% of grocery sales are done online and this is well ahead of the neighboring countries.
There is the potential for Aldi to go online in other countries, including Germany, and its sister company, Aldi North, is considering the move within Portugal and Spain.
Aldi has experienced rapid growth with sales increasing by 19.3% during the last quarter ended February. This increases its market share to 5%, while sales for Lidl increased by 13.6%, boosting their share of the market to 3.5%.
However, both chains have seen a slowdown in growth over the past 12 months. During February, Lidl’s sales figures increased much faster than Aldi’s for the first time since 2011.