Structural similarities and differences between the countries
In terms of structure and consumption patterns, the grocery retail markets in the four countries have both similarities and differences. In all the countries a limited number of traditional operators have a high total market share, but competition for customers is tough. In the three Baltic countries in particular, the expansion rate in recent years has been very high – especially in the discount segment. Price and price perception have also historically been a stronger competitive factor here than in Sweden. All the markets are characterised by a noticeable blurring of the lines between sectors, with increasingly tough competition from restaurants, cafés and purely online operators.
The grocery retail market’s share of disposable income
Variation in the grocery retail market’s share of total disposable income is relatively large. In Sweden the average household spends around 12% of disposable income on food and groceries. In the Baltic countries the figure is around 18–22%. There are also substantial differences in demographics. The population of Sweden is growing, while there have been significant decreases in the populations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in recent years.
Sales of food and other groceries largely track changes in the population. In general terms, the growth rate can be described as moderate but stable. Grocery retail is less sensitive to economic fluctuations than other retail segments. The factors that drive sales revenue are primarily inflation and an ever increasing share of value-added products, including complete meal solutions. A greater proportion of organic and locally produced products also makes a positive contribution.