Aldi Goes Mainstream

Aldi, once a niche discount grocer, is expanding its footprint and its customer base.

Consumers are still feeling the pinch of inflation across most purchases this year, but perhaps most acutely during the essential grocery trips. Recent findings show that the equivalent of $100 worth of groceries in 2019 now cost around $137. In some cases, items such as eggs and sports drinks have risen by nearly 40%. 

Luckily, grocery prices are leveling off this year, and are expected to only rise around 1%, compared to last year’s 5%, according to the USDA. Yet consumers have started adjusting their behavior by increasingly favoring discount grocery stores for the basics. Aldi, owned by the German holding company Albrecht Discounts, is one player that continues to steadily gain steam. The grocer is best known for its low prices obtained through fastidious operations and efficiency. 

According to Attain data, Aldi’s share-of-wallet has increased 70%, from 2% in 2020 to 3.6% in 2024. The only other top grocer to outperform Aldi in terms of growth was Trader Joe’s, also owned by Albrecht Discounts’, with 80% share-of-wallet growth from .72% to 1.3% during the same time period. Aldi and Trader Joe’s still capture a very small slice of the grocery pie, yet their growth is trending positively compared to other more established grocers. Kroger, the second-largest grocer next to Walmart, has seen a year-over-year decrease in share-of-wallet, falling from almost 12% in 2020 to 10% in 2024. 

“A main factor in Aldi’s growth is its no-nonsense, low-budget approach to a retail environment that suggests to consumers that its prices are low while maintaining sufficiently high quality,” Anthony Miyazaki, Ph.D. and Professor of Marketing at Florida International University, who specializes retail, told The Outcome.

Consumers are also increasingly making several stops during one shopping trip to maximize their savings, reported by the Wall Street Journal last month. However, Attain found that Aldi maintained the largest basket size compared to its competitive set, averaging 14 items per transaction, compared to just 10 at Walmart and Kroger, and 9 at Publix and Food Lion. This indicates that Aldi shoppers are able to purchase more items on their list in one trip than at competitor’s due to its lower prices. 

Attain data has also shown that the average Aldi customer is changing, increasingly attracting a younger and more diverse customer base. From 2020 to 2024, the 18-24 age group went from substantially under-indexing at 57, to over-indexing at 101, an increase of 44 index points (100 being baseline). 

“Younger shoppers tend to be highly influenced by social media content, which for the most part has been quite positive toward the Aldi brand, with constant posting of shoppers’ discovery of affordable deals and interesting products,” said Miyazaki. Organic social, in which social media users can drive awareness toward lesser known finds at Costco or menu hacks at Chipotle, was a major topic at the Possible Conference in Miami, and was evangelized by industry guru Gary Vaynerchuk during his keynote address. 

While Aldi customers still heavily index white, the hispanic group has grown 20 index points over the last four years, likely due to expansion in states with large hispanic populations like Texas and Florida, according to Miyazaki. In terms of income, Aldi has cemented its hold on the $50,000-$100,000 annual income bracket, over-indexing around 115 for the last 4 years. Despite its low prices, it captures an average index for those making below $50K annually. 

“Aldi has capitalized on the ability to find vacant storefronts in upscale neighborhoods due to the closures of many retailers that operated in small to medium-sized facilities. This has helped maintain its relatively upscale customer base,” added Miyazaki.

Aldi plans to add 800 more stores by the end of 2028, an expansion aided by the acquisition of 400 Winn-Dixie and Harvey stores. In this rocky economic climate, other retailers can look to Aldi as a prime example of how smart business practices, efficiency and minimal waste can be mutually beneficial for both consumers and businesses alike.

other stories you might like