The Wal-Mart owned UK supermarket, Asda, has finally pushed Sainsbury's from its position as the UK's second biggest supermarket into third place, taking second place behind Tesco, according to market share data released by TNS.
Safeway, however, remains unmoved in fourth position. TNS uses data from its Superpanel, which tracks consumer spending across Great Britain's supermarkets, to establish and chart market shares year-on-year in four week periods. Launched in 1991, the TNS consumer Superpanel provides purchasing information from all main grocery markets, and references 15,000 demographically and regionally balanced households in Britain.
The latest figures revealed that Asda now has a market share of 17.0%, with Sainsbury's lagging slightly behind at 16.2%, representing an historic first for Asda in the UK's battle for supermarket dominance. Charted against the same four weekly time period in 2002, Asda's market share has gained ground from 16.1% to 17.0% while Sainsbury's share declined from 17.1% to 16.2%, as shown in the TNS tillroll chart, below (reproduced by permission of TNS):
Edward Garner, communications director for TNS Superpanel, noted: "This is in line with a clear long-term trend. Our data has been showing a consistent growth from Asda over the last ten years, with decline from Sainsbury's over the last six years."
The rise of the loyalty card
Of course, keen observers of UK supermarket loyalty cards will notice what may be some interesting correlations between market share peaks and troughs, and loyalty card launches and withdrawals. Quite aside from TNS's own research, the introduction of a loyalty card does seem to coincide with an increase in market share, while a drop in market share often comes soon after the withdrawal of a card: