Shoppers in the Irish Republic are flocking to Aldi and Lidl as they struggle to cope with the deepening recession, new data has revealed.

Figures from TNS show that 69% of Irish households have shopped at the two discounters in the past three months.

Aldi and Lidl have a combined market share of 7.1%, and TNS estimates their collective sales in the Republic's €8.5bn grocery sector have increased 15% over the past year.

The increase has been achieved despite a media blitz by Irish market leader Tesco and its launch of Cash Savers, a cut-price range aimed specifically at countering the discounter threat.

In a two-month period earlier this year, Tesco spent €4m promoting its price cuts and making direct comparisons with the prices being charged by Aldi and Lidl, according to figures from the Irish Advertising Institute.