The price war that supermarkets are waging to retain customers in the midst of the food inflation crisis is far from over. The battle will continue to be fought in the final stretch of the year that will culminate with Christmas and the chains are already preparing a new wave of promotions to maintain and improve their market shares.
"We face this last quarter with great uncertainty and some pessimism," lamented Bernardo Rodilla, Retail Client Director of Kantar Worldpanel, during the presentation of the latest balance sheet of the distribution sector. In this context, he advanced that the price war will be fueled for the months of October, November and December.
Rodilla explained that, in the current context, the consultant observes that consumers are demanding more and more promotions or, at least, these are increasingly decisive when choosing which supermarket to make the purchase in.
Specifically, he pointed out that the promotion is gaining weight in the shopping cart through direct discounts, especially the modality of 'special price', which is the one that encompasses all promotions with a specific closed price and is precisely the one that is growing at a greater pace.
Kantar's forecasts suggest that over the coming months promotions will rise, in a context in which supermarkets are aware that these discounts are increasingly relevant for consumers when opting for one or another chain.
Thus, Rodilla stressed that there are already agents in the industry that are refining their strategies to intensify promotional pressure, taking more and more risks, as a formula to compensate for the price increases that still persist and avoid a slowdown in consumption.
And here communication and work on the perception of price is crucial, according to Rodilla. In this sense, "Mercadona's communication shows that the response of consumers to price actions is not based on purely rational criteria," he said, to insist that "the important thing is to work on perception, where promotion and communication play a key role."
And, a positive scenario for distribution in general, which grew as a whole by 8.3% driven by the general escalation of food prices, Mercadona managed to reinforce its leadership by increasing its market share to the record of 27% thanks to the launch of a promotion to lower up to 500 foods.
Before Mercadona made that decision, in April, it suffered the 'theft' of customers by Lidl, which gained business from all its competitors in the first quarter and managed to reach a share of 6.4% after growing 0.6 points, the largest increase in the entire market.
Carrefour, meanwhile, started two tenths and climbed in market share to 9.9%. Dia lost 0.4 points and fell to fifth place (4.3%) weighed down by the sale of stores to Alcampo. Meanwhile, Eroski rose to fourth place, with a share of 4.4%, after gaining 0.1 points. Behind are Consum, with 3.4%, Alcampo, with 3.1%, and Aldi, with 1.5%.
More white label
In this scenario of price war and battle to gain market share, the private label of distribution is growing at record levels as an alternative to compensate for price increases. Specifically, it has increased by 2.2 points compared to last year and already accounts for 43.5% of spending on packaged mass consumption, according to data handled by Kantar.
However, during the press conference held on Wednesday, the head of retail of the consultancy said that, based on the prospects they handle, the white label will slow down its growth rate as the price increases between the manufacturer's brand and that of the distributor are equated.