Which is the cheapest supermarket chain in France?

Both Lidl and E.Leclerc claim the title - we explain why

Both E.Leclerc and Lidl claim the title of France’s cheapest supermarket
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E.Leclerc has claimed for many years that it is the cheapest supermarket chain in France but Lidl is now also claiming the same.

Since 2006, E.Leclerc has published a price comparator with the aim of proving it is cheaper than other supermarkets in the country, and continues to claim this despite a campaign launched by Lidl on September 3 in which it also claims to be the cheapest.

Both supermarkets use data collected by external companies.

The graph below shows E.Leclerc’s findings, which claims their nearest rival – Lidl – is around 3% more expensive.

Table compiled using data from Leclerc’s latest price comparison campaign in June 2023

The graph below, however, shows Lidl’s findings, where they claim that E.Leclerc is around 2% more expensive than they are.

Table compiled using data from Lidl’s advertising campaign referring to prices at the beginning of August 2023

Which store is right?

With both supermarkets claiming the prized title of cheapest French supermarket, which one is right?

In fact both are, depending on which products are compared.

E.Leclerc’s analysis is based on the national brands on its shelves and those of its competitors. Lidl meanwhile, also includes its ‘own brand’ labels - marques de distributeurs (MDD) - both its own and those of its competitors, in its calculations.

These include own brand products such as ‘Leclerc’ or ‘Eco+’ for E.Leclerc and ‘Envia’, ‘Solevita’ and ‘Combino’ at Lidl.

“We firmly believe that price comparisons including all the national brands as well as our own labels and especially products with the same ingredients are essential when giving consumers an enlightened view in these economically uncertain times,” said Michel Biero, purchasing and marketing director at Lidl France, to French news outlet La Depeche.

Most consumers say E.Leclerc cheapest

Meanwhile people in France believe E.Leclerc is the cheapest supermarket, a survey* carried out by weekly food industry trade LSA magazine on August 30.

Chart compiled using data from LSA survey August 30

E.Leclerc continues to attract consumers and retain its status as market leader.

Read more: These apps and coupons help you save on your French supermarket shop

Chart compiled using data from Kantar P8 survey published August 25

A survey published by Kantar P8 global data, insights and consultancy group on August 25 showed E.Leclerc dominates the sector holding 23.9% of the market share - up 1.4 points in one year.

E.Leclerc’s domination

With inflation pushing prices up on a monthly basis at E.Leclerc, Lidl and elsewhere, E.Leclerc “is seen as the ultimate shelter for a significant proportion of consumers,” said Olivier Dauvers, mass distribution specialist on his blog Web Grand Conso.

Lidl has not seen an increase in consumers despite price increases by other supermarkets.

This is because inflation was more visible at Lidl as it principally sells its own label brands, while at E.Leclerc consumers can choose between different product price ranges and different quality ranges, said Mr Dauvers. Consumers are paying more attention than ever to labels and this is set to continue.

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*The exact data of the survey, including total number of participants, was unavailable at the time of writing this article