Australia flag Australia: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Australia

Evolution of the Sector
Distribution points in Australia are centralised. All major supermarket chains and warehouse/wholesale clubs operate their own network of national and regional distribution centers. Banner groups are used by a large number of independent retailers to improve the buying, advertising, and competitive power of smaller grocery and convenience stores. Under banner groups, retailers are able to negotiate better prices, coordinate marketing campaigns, and collaborate to establish new programs that benefit consumers. According to the estimates of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, food retailing increased by 0.5% in March 2022, in seasonally adjusted terms. Australian turnover in retail sector rose 9.4% in March 2022. By industry subgroup, health, wellness, and the environment continue to be major focuses among Australian consumers.
Australians tend to choose modern grocery retailers over traditional ones due to the more comprehensive range of products than traditional retailers. Furthermore, the scale of these modern grocery retailers allows them to offer better prices, further encouraging consumers to choose this channel.
The Supermarkets and Grocery Stores industry is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in Australia. The cause is to be traced back to development of discount operators such as ALDI and Costco. The rapid expansion of ALDI has significantly altered the industry's operating landscape, with the popularity of its low-cost private-label products underpinning strong growth. Large foreign companies, such as Amazon’s grocery division, AmazonFresh, and the Germany-based Schwarz Group’s supermarket brands, Lidl and Kaufland, will further intensify competition in the near future. The rise of discounts has forced the two established industry giants, Woolworths and Coles, to cut prices and expand their private-label product ranges in response. Smaller supermarket chains have struggled to compete in an ever more price-competitive sector.
Another defining feature of Australia’s supermarket and grocery industry is that it is highly concentrated, with the four largest operators accounting for 83.3% of total industry revenue in 2021. Coles and Woolworths account for more than 65.8%. ALDI’s strong growth has increased industry concentration and currently holds an estimated 10.5% of Australia’s market.
Market share

The Australian foodservice industry is valued at 47 billion AUD. The distribution of foodstuffs is carried out mainly by large chains which share more than 83.3% of the market. We can quote the following, according to Euromonitor :

  • Woolworths, an Australian-owned company operating both as a trading company and grocery retailing through supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Australia. Woolworths is the number one player in the grocery sector with a 37.4% value share of the market in 2021.
  • Coles supermarkets are part of Wesfarmers Limited and are the second largest player in the grocery sector with a 28.4% value share in 2021.
  • Aldi Stores Supermarkets Pty Ltd, the German based international discount food retailer which began trading in Australia in 2001, is the only discounter in Australia and continues to increase its value share (10.5% in 2021).
  • Metcash Trading Limited Australasia ranks fourth in supermarkets in value terms, with a 7% share in 2021. Metcash is Australia's largest grocery wholesaler and is a leading marketing and distribution company operating in the food, and other fast moving consumer goods, under the brands IGA, Supa IGA (supermarkets) and IGA Express (convenience stores).
  • 7-Eleven is the leading operator of convenience stores in Australia, the world's largest operator of convenience stores with more than 78,000 franchised and licensed stores in 19 countries generating annual sales exceeding $69 billion.
Retail Sector Organisations
Australian Retailers Association
Food and Beverage Importers Association
Australian Food and Grocery Council

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Latest Update: July 2024