Last year may have been the year of the discounter, but not so 2009.

The growth of the discounters has slowed dramatically this year - and shoppers are beginning to stop visiting them, according to new research.

In September, 15% of a representative sample of 1,000 shoppers reported visiting a discounter in the previous week, according to data from market research company Him!. But that figure dropped to 13% when the same question was asked in March. This is also down on March 2008, when the figure was 14%.

The same survey found the number of consumers who had visited a supermarket within the week had grown from 72% in September to 79% in March.

"The multiples have done a good job in their pricing and promotions communication," said Him! director Tom Fender. "The discounters are still doing well, but the supermarkets and also convenience stores are definitely fighting back on price."

An additional Him! survey of shoppers at Iceland, Netto, Aldi and Lidl found they were spending 47% of their grocery budget there, up 1% on the previous year.

And three-quarters were still top-up shopping at the discounters, rather than doing a full grocery shop.

TNS data shows that Aldi, Lidl and Netto's combined market share peaked in December at 6.3%, but has failed to reach that point again since. By March it had dropped to 5.9%, growing to 6.1% in May.

"The discounters' stellar growth couldn't continue forever, and Tesco's discounter brands and Asda's aggressive pricing have taken their toll," said TNS communications director Edward Garner.

Lidl and Aldi are still outgrowing the grocery market, with sales up 9.7% and 11.2% respectively [TNS 6w/e 17May], while Netto lags behind the market with growth of 1.3%.

However, this does not match the growth at the end of last year, when Aldi was growing at 25.4%, Lidl at 11.6% and Netto at 6.4% [TNS 12w/e 28 December].