A Him! survey of more than 2,000 discounter shoppers in March found that just 7% of shoppers at Aldi, Lidl, Netto and Iceland were doing their full weekly shop there, down from 12% a year ago.
The results suggest that shoppers are increasingly returning to the supermarkets for their main shop, as the so-called Aldi Effect, which saw recession-hit shoppers flocking to the discounters, wears off.
The survey also revealed that although the discounters were continuing to attract new customers, they were not doing so at the same rate as a year ago. Only 7% of customers said they had been shopping at the chain for less than a year compared with 16% when the same question was asked a year earlier.
However, it was not all doom and gloom for the discounters. The average spend per shopper was up by £1.10 to £13.66.
"The discounters have not fallen off a cliff but they have slowed down," said Him! director Tom Fender. "The supermarkets have done a good job to stifle the demand for discounters with private labels and aggressive promotions."
Meanwhile, the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures, for the 12 weeks to 18 April, revealed Aldi's sales grew by 5%, boosting its market share from 2.9% to 3%. Iceland's sales grew by 8% increasing its share from 1.7% to 1.8%. Lidl's sales grew by 2%, underperforming the market and causing its share to drop from 2.4% to 2.3%. And Netto's sales grew by 1.5%, giving it a 0.7% share of the market.
"The discounters are not the force that they were," said Kantar communications director Edward Garner. "In the heat of the recession the Aldi Effect helped its sales to grow at 25% a year and a lot of that was coming from people doing some serious shopping with them. Our research shows Aldi and Lidl are not getting repeat business or new customers at the same level they were."