An idea born from German frugality is taking over the world. Discount supermarkets which are not afraid to look frumpy in order to deliver cut-rate savings to their customers have been expanding in Europe and worldwide, and their success has been resounding.
While there are some others, the biggest discount supermarket chains with global ambitions out of Germany are Aldi and Lidl. The former is legendary in its home country for its very rich and even more offbeat founders, which are said to have stuck to their thrifty ways throughout their lives despite having become some of the richest people in Germany. Lidl is the younger, but also larger and more innovative of the two chains and hails from Germany's thriftiest state (according to popular belief), Baden-Württemberg.
Lidl has been able to overtake the original discounter Aldi in almost all European markets as of 2023, data from Statista Consumer Insights shows. Germany and Austria, where Aldi is called Hofer, are the exception. In expensive Switzerland, both stores are equally popular. Markets away from continental Europe, including the UK, the U.S. and Australia, are where Aldi still reigns supreme. In China, the fabled German discounter already reaches 5 percent of shoppers.