VRT Fact Check: 70% Rise in Cross-Border Shopping visits by Belgians

April 16, 2024
Jef De Niel
Discover the truth behind the 70% surge in Belgians' cross-border shopping at French supermarkets. Accurat's data analysis sheds light on the impact of economic shifts. Read on to uncover fascinating insights!

Are you curious about the remarkable surge in Belgians' cross-border shopping at French supermarkets?

We've fact-checked the recent VRT NWS article reporting a staggering 70% increase in shopping visits by Belgians from January to March 2022 compared to the same period in 2023. But what's driving this trend, and who are the winners in this retail shift?

Scroll down to dive deeper into our latest blog post, revealing which retail chains have benefited the most from this influx of shoppers and gain valuable insights for informed decision-making.

"70% Surge in Cross-Border Shopping: Unraveling the Impact on Belgians"

Our team at Accurat conducted an in-depth data analysis to fact-check the reported surge. The results confirmed the validity of the VRT NWS report, as we found a remarkable 72.09% surge in visits to cross-border shops during the first three months of 2023. This substantial rise in consumer visits emphasizes the significance of the trend and raises several intriguing questions for both consumers and retailers.

"Netto's 108.83% surge in cross-border shopping"

Going beyond the numbers, our analysis identified which retail chains benefited the most from this influx of shoppers. The data revealed some interesting findings:

Brands Increase in visits Jan-Mar 2022 vs Jan-Mar 2023

A quick summary:

  1. Netto: Experienced an impressive 108.83% increase in visits.
  2. Aldi: Saw a substantial rise of 103.92% in customer visits.
  3. Intermarché: Garnered a notable 99.36% surge in consumer footfall.
  4. Super U: Witnessed a commendable 80.65% increase in visits.
  5. Auchan: Enjoyed a steady growth of 60.08% in customer foot traffic.
  6. Match: Registered a respectable 42.38% rise in consumer visits.
  7. Spar: Showed a steady increase of 9.40% in customer footfall.

Unraveling the Driving Factors: The Role of Economic Changes

Several factors contribute to this surging trend. One significant element is the difference in inflation rates between Belgium and France. In the first three months of 2023, Belgium's inflation rate was double that of France, leading to a rise in wages, and consequently, an increase in prices at Belgian supermarkets. In contrast, France's system of loonindexering, tying wages to inflation, allowed for a more stable pricing environment.

Moreover, the soaring energy prices further compounded the situation in Belgium, where no measures were taken to limit the impact on consumers and businesses. In contrast, France implemented measures to mitigate price increases for large enterprises and supermarkets.

A Glimpse into the Future: The Impact of Proposed Tax Changes

The future of cross-border shopping for Belgians remains uncertain, with discussions of a fiscal reform, including a potential increase in the VAT rate on food from 6% to 9%. While this change aims to remove the existing two-tier VAT system, it might lead to higher prices for various food items, particularly meat, fish, beverages, chocolates, and cookies. As a result, more Belgians may be encouraged to explore cost-effective shopping options across the border.

Empowering Consumers and Retailers

While cross-border shopping provides cost-effective alternatives for many Belgians, it is essential for consumers to make informed decisions. Not every product available at French supermarkets may be more affordable than in Belgium. Thus, diligent price comparison can help consumers maximize their savings.

For retailers, understanding consumer behavior during economic shifts is crucial. Adapting strategies to cater to changing consumer preferences and needs can ensure a competitive edge in the market.


The surge in cross-border shopping by Belgians at French supermarkets is a compelling trend that showcases the impact of economic changes on consumer behavior. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, we remain committed to bringing you the latest data-driven insights to navigate these shifts successfully. Join us as we empower businesses and consumers with the knowledge to thrive in a dynamic market environment.

Ready to Uncover the Insights and Boost Your Retail Strategy? Contact Accurat Today!

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