Aldi, M&S and Waitrose have come top of Which?’s annual satisfaction survey, highlighting how the discounter can compete with premium supermarkets for its great quality and win over shoppers with exceptional value for money.
The consumer champion’s annual satisfaction survey asked over 3,000 members of the public about their in-store and online shopping experience at the nation’s biggest supermarkets, looking at a range of factors including store appearance, product range and value for money.
Traditional middle-class favourites M&S and Waitrose finished towards the top of the in-store rankings for quality, range of products and store experience. However, Aldi won over the masses with its value for money, joining the other two retailers in the top three. The other stores that make up the top five are Iceland and Lidl, so despite M&S and Waitrose topping the charts, the rest were made up of low-cost options.
The traditional ‘Big Four’ of Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons achieved some respectable star ratings but came further down the table – suggesting that the middle ground between quality and affordable food is less appealing to shoppers during a cost of living crisis.
M&S got the highest overall customer score of 77 per cent, earning praise for the quality of its own label and fresh products, customer service and store appearance, where it received five stars.
While M&S scored well in most categories it fell down when it came to value for money, where customers gave it two stars. A shopper commented: “Excellent quality, but it has its price.” This poor performance in terms of value for money means M&S doesn’t qualify as a Which? Recommended Provider this year.
Aldi emerged as the only supermarket to have been named a Which? Recommended Provider this year for its in-store shopping, as it does well in Which?’s survey as well as on behind-the-scenes measures. Aldi was also the cheapest supermarket of the year for 2022 according to Which?’s price comparison analysis. Aldi received an overall customer score of 73 per cent, scoring four stars for value for money and quality of fresh products, but scored just two stars for stock availability and queue waiting times. Aldi’s customers do not let its mediocre performance on some fronts deter them from shopping there. One shopper said: “I love shopping at Aldi. The prices are great for the majority of things I buy there.” Another added: “Staff are friendly, products are excellent quality and it offers exceptional value for money.”
Waitrose came joint-second in Which?’s table with a customer score of 73 per cent but like M&S, Waitrose only received two stars when it came to value for money so also missed out on Which?’s Recommended Provider accolade. It was, however, the only brand to get five stars for its in-store product range. Some shoppers praised the quality of Waitrose’s groceries, outstanding customer service and the top-notch appearance of its stores. One shopper said: “Waitrose provides good quality and tasty products and their stores are clean and pleasant. Their prices, however, are high so I only buy a few items from there.”
At the other end of the spectrum the Co-op came bottom of Which?’s survey for shopping in-store with a customer score of 61 per cent. The Co-op got just one star for value for money and only managed two stars for availability, range and quality. Despite this, for many people Co-op is the closest store with one shopper saying: “Co-op is quite expensive but is a convenient local shop for when I need to pop in for basics.”
When it came to online grocery shopping – Ocado came top. Ocado excelled in its online performance with delivery slots and collection availability, customer service and range of products, receiving a customer score of 81 per cent.
Joint second for online shopping in Which?’s survey were Iceland and Waitrose. With a score of 76 per cent, Iceland customers loved the availability of delivery slots, its range of products and the customer service at collection and delivery. Waitrose also scored highly in these categories, scoring four stars for the ease of using the website and app, along with Iceland.
At the bottom of the table for online shopping was Morrisons with a score of 66 per cent. Morrisons scored only two stars on value for money, stock availability and the choice of substitute items.
In Which?’s survey Tesco received a score of 68 per cent for its in-store offering. However, online customers loved its range of products, earning it a higher customer score of 75 per cent. Meanwhile, it only got two stars for value in-store, despite its widely-advertised Clubcard discounts.
Sainsbury’s received a score of 68 per cent for its in-store offering and 74 per cent for online. Online shoppers gave it five stars for its range of groceries, availability of collection or delivery slots and customer service. In-store, it got no five-star ratings – but it scored well on everything except availability of groceries, where it picked up three stars, and value, where it scored two.
Previous Which? research found that some shoppers are losing trust in supermarkets as prices soar. Aldi and Lidl had the highest trust levels, closely followed by Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Waitrose had the lowest level of trust among shoppers in general but among the highest for its own customers. Waitrose is also regularly named the most expensive supermarket in Which?’s monthly basket price comparison.
Reena Sewraz, Which? Retail Editor, said:
“Our results highlight how many shoppers are prioritising value for money above all else, but for those who can afford it, high-quality products and a positive shopping experience still really matter. None of the supermarkets received five stars for value in-store, but the discounters still led the way in this category.
“While some shoppers can buy budget ranges and shop around, Which? believes all supermarkets have the ability to make a real difference to hard-hit households by ensuring everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food lines at a store near them, as well as through targeted promotions – particularly in areas where people are most in need. They should also make it easy to compare prices.”
Notes to Editors:
- In October 2022, Which? surveyed 3,007 adults in the UK about the supermarkets they bought most groceries from in the previous 12 months. Fieldwork was conducted online by Deltapoll.
- Our annual survey looks at everything from value for money and customer service to online deliveries and the quality of the food and drink sold. The data is based on in-store and online performance.
- Yonder on behalf of Which? surveys approximately 2,000 consumers quarterly to ask about their trust in businesses. We measure trust as the proportion of consumers who say they trust a sector a fair amount or a great deal minus the proportion who say they don’t trust a sector much or at all.
- Which? found that 88 per cent of people are worried about food prices and 59 per cent are buying cheaper products as a result of rising prices. Significant numbers of shoppers are also buying extra groceries when they are on promotion and shopping around.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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