Almost 40% of households shopping for groceries visited Aldi or Lidl in the four weeks to mid September, as the former today announced a 40% increase in turnover in 2012.

According to retail insight company Nielsen, Aldi and Lidl are continuing to gain market share at the expense of the major supermarket groups, with Sainsbury’s being the only one of the big four to increase market share in the 12 weeks ending September 14.

Nielsen’s head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “Almost 40% of households shopping for groceries in the last four weeks visited at least one of the two leading discounters – Aldi or Lidl. Many British shoppers are now using these retailers as part of their regular shopping trips, and this is impacting the FMCG market share of some of the major supermarkets.

“This trend may well continue as almost two-thirds of British consumers have changed spending habits to save money, and many shoppers anticipate a need to do so even when the economy finally improves.”

Aldi has announced a 40.6% increase in turnover, from £2.76bn in 2011 to £3.88bn in 2012, while pre-tax profit soared by 123% to £160m over the same period.

Sales of fresh meat and produce are now among Aldi’s best-selling categories, with fruit and veg sales up by more than 49% in 2012. Aldi’s fresh meat sales have risen by more than 60% year-on-year for the last three years.

Joint group managing director Matthew Barnes said: “We give customers exactly what they want, which is the best products at the best prices, every day of the year. We have a simple low pricing offer that customers really understand and we don’t try to confuse them with the likes of multibuy promotions.”