There are more so-called "high-spending" consumers, but also more buyers who are looking for the lowest price: as a consequence, mid-range products are penalized. This was the picture of fruit and vegetable sales in last year's large-scale survey, taken by Stefano Galli of Nielsen at the recent Forum of the Cdo Agroalimentare.
"Purchasing styles are polarizing - said Galli - and our surveys have shown that in the last year, golden consumers, those who seek quality first of all without major price problems, have gone from 15 to 19%.
The other pole is made up of consumers who are looking for the cheapest price and who are looking for promotions, often even beyond the signs. They are the so-called nomads of the flyer, sometimes well organized, aiming only at below cost bargains and often changing supermarket or brand just to save money. Sometimes this is because of real economic difficulties, sometimes just to spend less, even if they don't need to.
Going back to what Galli said, the central band of consumers and products is shrinking and this is detrimental to the Italian fruit and vegetable production, whose production costs, on average, can not be placed in the low price range.
Moreover, how is e-commerce affecting the prospects of supermarkets? Luca Boselli, Lidl's finance managing director, took the floor. "I am convinced that e-commerce and the traditional channel can coexist. Clearly, the traditional must evolve. I'll give you an example: 20 years ago, you could watch football only at the stadium, or listen to the game on the radio or watch TV in the evening. Today you can watch the game live on TV, or on a tablet, PC or mobile phone. You still go to the stadium, but in a different way: there are those who watch the replays on your smartphone. Supermarkets will also have to renew themselves, just as some football clubs have done, trying to turn the stadium into a meeting place with restaurants, entertainment areas and the sale of gadgets".
Boselli then recalled that in 2018 Lidl contributed 2000 tons of food to the Food Bank, involving more than 50% of its sales network.
"In 2019 we will invest 350 million euros - added Boselli - with 40 new outlets. The market is unique, beyond the different ways of buying. In any case, the consumer demands quality at the right price. We try to reach this goal every day by focusing on the assortment made in Italy which is 80% of the total".