They were once the supermarkets for those of us on lower incomes.
The market research company, Mintel, last week reported that a higher proportion of wealthy people shop at discount stores Aldi and Lidl than those on the lowest incomes.
It shows 77% of households earning £50,000 or more have used these stores, compared to 73% of households on incomes of less than £15,000.
David Harvey, University of Huddersfield’s expert in consumer behaviour, said: “A marginal difference perhaps, but it demonstrates that the discounters now have a broad appeal across different income groups and that wealthy shoppers enjoy a bargain as much as anyone else.
“Aldi and Lidl are able to offer low prices on groceries by restricting the range of goods on offer in generally smaller stores, compared to the big four supermarkets, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
“They also avoid stocking famous brands and it looks as if they have convinced their customers that this restricted choice and floor space does not compromise on quality.
“The recession of 10 years ago broke people’s shopping habits and loyalty to the Big 4 as they looked around for the best prices from a variety of outlets.
“This ‘promiscuity’ has continued and the problem that the Big 4 supermarkets have is that they are stuck with too many big stores and big overheads in an era when the traditional ‘big weekly shop’ is in the decline.”
The stores’ use of discounted short-term special offers from gadgets, food mixers and power tools to ski gear and even horse-riding equipment have attracted a different clientele.
Mr Harvey adds: “The fact that these products are literally piled up in the central aisle with no fancy display, creates a sense of urgency and discovery for the shopper.
“By regularly changing these non-food items and promoting them in their free brochure, Aldi have mastered the art of persuading wealthy people to keep coming back for more.
“Nobody wants to miss out on a bargain and this is clearly more important to today’s middle class shopper than any anxiety about brand snobbery.”