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Supermarket loyalty: what’s that?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=12,828). Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+

To paraphrase the old saying, no supermarket is an island – and even if it was, most of Australia’s 14.2 million grocery-buyers would prefer to island-hop than stick to the one place. In fact, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that more than three-quarters (77%) of the nation’s grocery-shoppers visit at least two different supermarkets in an average four weeks.

Of the four major supermarkets – Woolworths/Safeway, Coles, IGA and ALDI – IGA has the most loyal customers. In any given four-week period, 30% of people who mainly shop at IGA only shop at IGA.

Grocery-buyers who mainly shop at Woolworths/Safeway are the second-most likely (25%) to stick with their number one, marginally ahead of Coles shoppers (24%). Despite its increasing overall market share, ALDI has a much lower proportion (7%) of exclusive shoppers.

Supermarket mainly shopped at and number of supermarkets visited in last 4 weeks

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=12,828). Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+

When asked how many major supermarkets they shopped at over the last four weeks, 37% of Aussie grocery-buyers reported shopping at two, 28% said three and 7% said they shopped at all four. This pattern is relatively consistent among Woolworths/ Safeway shoppers, Cole shoppers and IGA shoppers, for whom visiting two supermarkets is the most common scenario.

When it comes to ALDI, however, the greatest proportion (47%) of their shoppers visits three supermarkets in an average four-week period. Furthermore, people who say they mainly shop at ALDI are actually more likely to visit all four major supermarkets in that time than shop at ALDI alone.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“As our data has confirmed many times and in many different ways, Australia’s supermarket scene is incredibly competitive -- and these latest findings throw another challenge into the mix. While most grocery-buyers have a supermarket they mainly shop at, a relatively low proportion of them shop exclusively at that supermarket. They do not seem to have any great sense of loyalty to their main chain.

“Woolworths/Safeway and Coles customers are quite similar in their shopping habits: they are more likely to shop at two – or even three – of the main chains in an average four weeks than return to their primary supermarket every time. People who mainly shop at IGA are also more likely to visit two supermarkets in any given four weeks, but less likely to visit three.

“These results suggest that customer loyalty programs such as FlyBuys (held by more than half of Coles shoppers) and Everyday Rewards (held by more than 60% of Woolworths/Safeway customers) are not achieving the desired result.

“Meanwhile, the fact that so few ALDI customers shop exclusively at ALDI is not so surprising: while the German chain offers low prices and a popular home-brand range, it does not have such a huge variety of products as the other major supermarkets. As a result, it’s almost inevitable that ALDI shoppers will need to visit other chains during the month to complete their grocery shop.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%