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Almost one in five consumers buy alcohol at independent discount retailers

Published:  10 February, 2014

Independent discount retail is booming, with 17% of customers typically buying alcohol there, according to a poll.

A survey of 2,000 adults shows that 63% of UK adults shop in independent discount retailers, while 79% said that even if their financial circumstances improve they will continue to use the stores.

Household cleaning products were most in demand from discount shoppers, with 70% of respondents saying they typically bought them, followed by 43% buying grocery products. 

The survey was carried out by OnePoll between December 5 and 9, 2013 on behalf of wholesalers Rowan.  

The customer base for such stores covers a broad spectrum of demographics, with 69% of shoppers educated to degree level and above.

Most of the UK's discount retailers are either independent or part of a small chain. In 2013, companies with nine or fewer stores ran 3,468 of the nation's discounters - more than three times the number of Aldi and Lidl shops combined. 

James Russell, Rowan's commercial director, said: "Unlike Aldi or Lidl, independent discounters tend be on high streets, so are ideally-placed to benefit from the new trend of customers shopping around rather than buying all their goods in one weekly supermarket visit. At the same time, they are beginning to stock more popular brands, and stock them consistently. Put together, this means more customer visits, and increased customer trust. 

"Anecdotally, the companies we deal with who are experiencing the strongest growth are not the giants; they are the smaller, more entrepreneurial firms who have realised there is a discount boom and are using the flexibility afforded by their size to respond to it in a clever way."

When asked why they shopped in independent discounters, 56% of customers said "the shopping experience has become better," while 53% argued "the products the shops sell are becoming better and more relevant to me."