Structural similarities and differences between the countries
In all of the countries where ICA operates the grocery retail markets are dominated by a limited number of players. Competition for customers is tough. In the Baltic countries in particular, the expansion rate in recent years has been very high, especially in the discount segment. In these markets, price and price perception is in general a stronger competitive factor than in Sweden.
Changed consumption patterns
In all of the countries a growing proportion of retail sales take place in big cities, either in the city centre or in shopping centres just outside. All countries, but particularly Sweden, have seen growth – albeit from a low starting point – in online grocery sales and pre-packed grocery bags for home delivery. In Sweden customer loyalty is high, even though it has declined.
The grocery retail market’s share of disposable income
There are quite significant regional differences in terms of the grocery retail market’s share of total disposable income between the different countries. In Sweden the average household spends about 10–12% of disposable income on food and groceries. In the Baltic countries the figure is approximately 20–30%.
There are big differences in the population sizes as well. The population of Sweden is growing, while there has been a significant decline in the population in all of the Baltic countries.