Saturday, 22 January, 2022

“Yellow vests”: how Intermarché fared from the game


The analysis of the monthly study by panelist Kantar for November reveals that the movement of “yellow vests” has accentuated the trends observed for several months. The French have done their food shopping more on the Internet and have visited hypermarkets less. Auchan and Carrefour, which were already suffering from customer disaffection with stores over 2,500 m², are losing ground against brands such as Intermarché, Système U and Leclerc, positioned on generally smaller formats. Gaëlle Le Floch, director of strategic studies at Kantar, analyzes these changes in consumer behavior exacerbated by the “yellow vests”.

Challenges. What was the impact of the “yellow vests” movement for large food retailers in November?

Gaëlle Le Floch. According to our survey carried out from October 29 to November 25, the movement of “yellow vests” has accelerated the gloom in the sector that we could observe since the beginning of the year. Because regardless of the “yellow vests”, the market was already unfavorable and the sector was not boasting. Thus, the growth in turnover achieved by the so-called generalist circuits represented by supermarkets, hypermarkets, hard discounters, convenience stores and the Internet has only reached 0.8% since January, against 1 to 2% per year on the past eight years. French spending on consumer goods rose 0.7% in November, growth twice as low as that observed over the past twelve months. The French also bought less products (-0.9%), a trend since January but which has accelerated over the past month. For months, we have been experiencing a mini-revolution in the way of consuming. A large number of French people want to be careful what they eat. They prefer organic, local, which is more expensive. They buy less but better. The numbers all point in that direction, but the movement intensified in November.

Has there been a postponement on the Internet because of the blocking of access to the stores?

There has obviously been a transfer from offline to online with an even stronger dynamic than expected for Internet orders, and in particular in drive. They rose 8.8% in November, compared to 6.5% since the start of the year. If the Internet has been gaining market share for a long time on physical stores, it seems that a certain number of French people have not been able to go to their usual stores to do their shopping. Other indicators also show us that the French have a decline in morale and are generally less eager at the moment to go to stores.

In detail, how were the various distribution channels and brands impacted?

Spending in hypermarkets was down 0.6% in November. Once again, this is a format that has been declining market share for some time now, but which sees the trend accelerate in November. The French are increasingly splitting their purchases and prefer to go to specialists like Grand Frais. Carrefour and Auchan, which have the largest hypermarket parks, are two brands which were already not doing very well but which lost market share over the period because they were also hit hard by blockades in access to roundabouts leading to areas and shopping centers in which they have hypermarkets.
Conversely, supermarkets fared better, which benefited brands such as Intermarché, Système U and Leclerc, whose market shares were still increasing this month. In this context, the so-called own-brand brands held up rather well, with Lidl in the lead, which gained 0.3 point of market share because their stores are located in cities but rarely in peripheral shopping areas.
Finally, convenience stores, which were rather growing in market share, did not gain points in November because Paris and its region weigh heavily on turnover.

Finally, is the Internet the big winner of this episode?

Yes, even if this circuit is progressing and in any case attracting more and more French people. This was very obvious in non-food purchases, but it is also the case for food. The drive represents the majority of sales on the Internet, outside Paris where the purchasing power is higher for home delivery. In this niche, the two brands that occupy the most land are Leclerc and Auchan. Leclerc is the fastest growing brand in this area. The internet market share increased by 0.4 point to 6.4%.

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