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Supermarkets vote - how we shop

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Rob Unsworth - editor | 15:34 UK time, Monday, 23 February 2009

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Supermarkets are a massive part of the economy and our daily lives. We wanted to know exactly what you think about the stores where almost all of us do our shopping, and find out where you filled up your trolleys and why?

Most of all we wanted to find out which supermarkets you love and which ones you hate. So we set up an online vote to find out. With the results in, we've got an unprecedented snapshot of how you shop today.

The vote ran on the Watchdog website for eight days earlier in February 2009. There were 14 questions about where you do your weekly shop and a staggering 36,308 of you logged on and voted.

Very interesting
The vote results have been counted and cross-referenced by market research company ComRes and the results are very interesting. Our 36,000 voters spend an average of £79.46 in the supermarket every week, with most choosing not to shop around, but to do all their shopping at just one store. A huge majority said they like to do it the traditional way, by visiting the shop. Only 14 per cent of our online voters do their supermarket shop through the internet (this includes five per cent who only shop online and nine per cent of those who use both).

However, once the supermarkets have got us inside do we like what we find? Overall, our voters are happy with the store they choose to shop at and they're very loyal. Once they've got their favourite, they don't plan on going anywhere else. When we asked if you were satisfied with your choice of supermarket, only 2,180 of our respondents, just six per cent, said they weren't. The rest said they were either fairly or very satisfied. Budget chain Aldi has the happiest customers of any supermarket. When we broke those figures down, a whopping 98 per cent of people who shopped there said they were satisfied. However all of the supermarkets scored highly for this question with Somerfield coming bottom of the list, but even so, 80 per cent of their customers said they were satisfied.

Creatures of habit
It seems where shopping is concerned, we can be creatures of habit. When we asked if you'd changed your supermarket over the last few months, most of our voters hadn't. 70 per cent of our 36,000 voters still shop at the same supermarket as this time last year, but these are tough times and the other 30 per cent have gone somewhere else. So which supermarkets have lost customers and where have they gone?

All of the big supermarkets have lost some customers, but gained others. Of the 11,000 people who said they'd switched supermarket, 45 per cent said they'd stopped shopping at Tesco. But Tesco also have the highest number of customers who said they've not switched. On top of that, they've gained new customers too. Adam Leyland, editor of the Grocer magazine explained: "Tesco's like Microsoft, it's the biggest player by far in the game. So it has the most customers to lose. On the other hand it's also gaining customers from other businesses as well, as people trade down from so called premium supermarkets like Marks and Spencer and Waitrose."

Budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl have also gained shoppers. Over half of voters who said they shop there say they only started doing so within the last year.

Driving force
The majority of people are moving because of price. It's what our switchers told us they were most concerned about. But if you've not changed supermarkets in the last year, does that mean price is still the driving force behind why you choose a particular store? We asked you what the single most important factor is that determines where you shop. We thought the answer would be obvious, but price is not the whole story. Convenience and quality are just as important. 26 per cent of the people did tell us price was the most important factor when choosing a supermarket; but another 26 per cent told us they made up their mind based on quality; and just as many said they chose their shop based on convenience.

One aspect few voters care about when choosing where to shop is the environment - less than 550 people told us it was the single most important factor when choosing a supermarket. That's just over half the number who said that it's a store's loyalty card scheme that decides what store they go to.

Good news
So - our 36,000 voters have made it clear. They love their supermarkets; they know what they want - and they know where to go to get it. Overall, our results are good news for the supermarkets. But who's the favourite?

Find out who came top for quality, price and crucially, who was voted as the overall favourite.

Read the full text report with all the results from the Watchdog vote.


  • Comment number 1.

    It doesn't surprise me that Waitrose was considered the 'best'. It's far more available in England, where most of the voters most likely were. The nearest Waitrose to my address is, according to their website, '31 miles' away. Hardly handy! I remeber, I think, years ago there was a Waitrose in Cumbernauld. Not so these days. My supermarket shopping is dictated by what is close and where it is sensible to use public transport to get to! In these days of 'ditch your car, you're supposed to use the bus/train' where does that leave people like me? Oh, and M&S won't open a store near my address because we - and I do quote - 'aren't in the correct postcode area'. I rest my case. Thank you.


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