Similarities and differences between the countries
In terms of structure and consumption patterns, the grocery retail markets in the four countries bear similarities as well as differences. In all of the countries, a limited number of traditional actors have a high total market share, but competition for customers is fierce. Especially in the three Baltic countries, the pace of new establishment has been very high in recent years, not least in the discount segment, where price and the price experience has historically been a stronger competitive factor than in Sweden. All of the markets are characterised by considerable sector convergence, with ever-greater competition from restaurants, cafés and pure-play online retailers.
The grocery retail market’s share of disposable income
As for the grocery retail market’s share of consumers’ total, disposable income, there are relatively large differences. In Sweden the average household spends about 12% of its disposable income on food and groceries. In the Baltic countries the corresponding number ranges from 18% to 22%. Also in terms of demographics, there are large differences. The population in Sweden is growing, while the populations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have decreased in recent years.
Sales of food and other groceries generally follow the demographic trend. The growth rate can in general terms be described as moderate but stable. Compared with other retail segments, grocery retail is less sensitive to economic fluctuations. Among the factors that are driving sales value are primarily inflation and a higher share of value added products – such as entire meal solutions. A higher share of organic and locally sourced products is also making a positive contribution.