Beyond Borders: Increase of Belgian Border Shoppers in Dutch Supermarkets due to Farmers' Protests

May 15, 2024
Laetitia Bignoux
Farm protests in Belgium increase the number of border shoppers in Dutch supermarkets, according to Accurat's data. Discover the impact.

The impact of the recent farmers' protests in Belgium has been felt in various sectors, including supermarkets in particular. Blockades at distribution centers by farmers have resulted in empty shelves in Belgian stores. The effects of these protests extended beyond just empty shelves, according to data collected by Accurat.

During this period, the number of Belgian shoppers in Dutch supermarkets increased significantly. These border shoppers clearly chose Dutch supermarkets to avoid the empty shelves in Belgium that resulted from the protests. Interestingly, the impact of the farmers' protests did not extend to the same extent to supermarkets on the German border. Only in Eupen was there a noticeable increase in the number of Belgian shoppers.

1. Fewer border shoppers along the French and Luxembourg border

Regions such as Bastogne, Athus and Heinsch show a lower visit share towards abroad compared to the baseline as of week 5 (as of Jan. 29). No strong fluctuation in visit transfer with French brands was noticed. Possibly this can be attributed to identical protests at the French border.

“No strong fluctuation in visit transfer with French brands has been noticed.”

2. Increase in border shoppers at the Dutch border in the Liège region:

Visit share

In regions such as Boncelles, Dison, Ensival, Flémalle-Haute, Seraing and Verviers, there is a higher visit share towards the Netherlands both in Week 5-6 (29/01/24 to 11/02/24) and Week 7-8 (12/02/24 - 25/02/24). This increase is also due to these protests, given the sudden swing compared to our data from 4 weeks before.

Visit transfer

We limited our research to specific regions and looked specifically at the impact of the peasant protests in the Liège and Arlon regions. Within these regions, we analyzed visitor flows or visit transfer. (We visualized this in the diagram below)

Distribution of Belgian Supermarket Visits to Foreign Supermarkets Before Protests (W40-41 2023)
Distribution of Belgian Supermarket Visits to Foreign Supermarkets 2 Weeks After Protests

An increase is also visible in visit transfer: there are more Belgian supermarket visits towards Albert Heijn. This increase can also be partly attributed to their acquisition of Jan Linders, which logically resulted in a decrease in the share of visits towards Jan Linders. 

At Jumbo, an increase of 4% was also observed and the supermarket chain Plus also saw a slight increase, albeit less significant than at Albert Heijn and Jumbo. Moreover, we observed that the increase at Plus was not long-lasting, as the figures decreased again after some time. It seems that customers have not remained loyal to the chain. Therefore, it is essential for the chain to focus on retaining customers and convincing them to keep shopping with them.


Accurat's data suggest a clear shift in the buying behavior of Belgian consumers in response to the recent farmers' protests. Dutch supermarkets benefit, while supermarkets on the German and French border seem to be less affected. These findings highlight the complex nature of the impact of market events such as these on consumer behavior.

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