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Supermarket satisfaction: a one-horse race?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), March 2015-August 2016, n=6,076. Base: Australians 14+ who mainly shopped at each supermarket in last 4 weeks

The results for the August Customer Satisfaction Awards are in, and full details of all 32 category winners (as well as runners up) can be seen at As usual, Roy Morgan congratulates this month’s winners, including new leaders in the categories of Bank, Department Store, Discount Department Store, Furniture/Electrical Store and Gas Provider, for their industry-leading commitment to their customers.

This month, we take a closer look at the state of supermarket satisfaction. Whether they’re engaged in milk wars, bread wars, or vying to outdo each other with the cheesiest TV commercials, Australia’s supermarkets are in constant battle for a larger share of the market. One of the most important weapons in this ongoing campaign for supermarket supremacy is, of course, customer satisfaction: after all, happy shoppers are more likely to return than unhappy ones.

Since the beginning of the year, German-owned discount supermarket ALDI has been leading the field for customer satisfaction. In August, it achieved a satisfaction score of 96%, just ahead of 2015’s Supermarket of the Year, Foodland, on 94%. Fellow independent IGA came in third (92%), while the top five was rounded out by Coles (91%) and Woolworths/Safeway (88%).

Supermarket satisfaction: August 2016


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), March 2015-August 2016, n=6,076

The subtleties of supermarket satisfaction

As we revealed last year, over three-quarters of Australia’s 15 million grocery buyers shop at more than one supermarket in an average four weeks. With customer loyalty in such short supply, satisfaction becomes even more crucial – a potential means of encouraging customers to at least do their main weekly grocery shop at the same supermarket.

While the results of the monthly Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards are determined by one overall supermarket score, a more comprehensive understanding of the outcome is possible by examining each supermarket’s performance in the following sub-categories: bread, dairy, deli, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, packaged groceries and general merchandise.

Supermarket satisfaction sub-categories: the ALDI effect


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-August 2016, n=6,076. Base: Australians 14+ who mainly shopped at each supermarket in last 4 weeks

As the table above shows, ALDI tops the list for no fewer than six of the nine sub-categories! Of the remaining three, Foodland satisfied the highest proportion of customers for bread, Woolworths/Safeway scored best for deli, and Coles topped the list for seafood.

Considering that ALDI supermarkets do not have fresh delicatessen or seafood counters, its absence from the top three for those particular sub-categories is understandable.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“According to the old saying, ‘You can’t please everyone all of the time’—but that’s pretty much what supermarkets must do if they are to remain competitive. Witness ALDI’s market-leading performance, satisfying a mighty 96% of its customers in August, and excelling in six of the nine supermarket sub-categories measured by Roy Morgan.

“As the German discount giant continues its Australian expansion, its influence is growing. Since it moved into South Australia at the beginning of 2016, the proportion of SA residents who mainly or sometimes shop there has shot up to 19%. In Western Australia, where it opened in June, a similar trend appears to be taking shape. It will be interesting to see whether this increased customer volume takes ALDI’s satisfaction to even greater heights in months to come.

“Meanwhile, news that fellow German discount supermarket Lidl is almost certain to enter the Australian market in the near future heralds yet further upheaval for the national supermarket scene. In anticipation of this, Coles, Woolworths and the independents would be wise to really consolidate on their customer satisfaction in the hope of boosting loyalty … which is where Roy Morgan Research can help.

“Supermarkets wishing to future-proof their business in this increasingly competitive climate need a firm strategy that goes beyond ‘the customer is always right’ to what might be called ‘customer obsession’. To devise this, they must understand which demographic and psychographic factors shape their shoppers’ satisfaction, how this compares to their competitors, and what broader retail trends are at play. All of which is possible with the deep data of Roy Morgan Single Source.

“With their compelling low-price, no-frills approach, these German contenders may be formidable rivals, but that doesn’t mean all is lost for local supermarkets!”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%