Finland flag Finland: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Finland

Evolution of the Sector
Finland is a prosperous Northern European country. It has a strategic location as the interface between the markets of Russia, the Baltic and Nordic countries. Indeed most of the transit trade from the EU to Russia already passes through Finland. The Finnish retail market can be characterised as a stable market, relatively small with 5.55 million inhabitants but highly urbanised: 85.7% live in towns or urban areas (Data Reportal, 2022). According to the Finnish Grocery Trade Association (PTY), the total sales of Finnish grocery trade groups amounted to EUR 20.2 billion in 2020. Finnish food and beverage consumption per capita account for 17.8% of total household expenditure, and clothing and footware 3.4% (Eurostat, 2021).

The grocery retail sector is dominated by S Group and K Group, which counted 1,056 and 1,230 stores respectively in 2020 (in the form of hypermarkets, supermarkets, smaller local supermarkets and convenience stores), followed by German chain Lidl (193), and Tokmanni (192) (Finnish Grocery Trade Association). Finland is not well known for its high streets, as consumers tend to prefer doing their shopping in shopping centres, especially in northern cities. According to the Finnish Council for Shopping Centres, there are 112 shopping centres in Finland. The majority of high street shopping locations can be found in the largest cities. Due to the sparsity of high street locations in Finland, retail units are highly sought after.

Finland has several retail outlet areas located all over the country, typically just outside city centres, with just under 700 outlet stores in total. Traditionally, retail outlet areas in Finland consist of big box stores that are located in close proximity to one another. The retail park segment, however, consists mostly of furniture retailers and other home or household-related retailers, as well as sport equipment retailers.

According to recent figures, e-commerce has witnessed rapid growth and has become a viable option for Finns, whether it is for retail, groceries or other products. Online retail trade grew by a record pace of 22% in 2021 (Finnish Commerce Federation). The increasing interest in e-shopping has forced offline retailers to develop their own e-shopping platforms in order to maintain customer satisfaction. Additionally, the increasing use of e-shopping has fostered more price-conscious shopping behaviour by customers who now have the option of choosing between online and traditional retail. According to the Finnish Commerce Federation, domestic online sales amount to approximately 9-10% share of the total retail sales. However, the overall share of e-commerce is much larger as approximately 36% of online purchases are from foreign online stores.

Finally, consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, with retailers increasingly adapting to this trend.

Market share
The Finnish grocery trade is largely dominated by two retail trade groups: S Group and K Group. According to the latest figures from Statista, in 2021 the S Group (brands Prisma, S-Market, Alepa) held the largest market share with around 46% of Finnish grocery retail, closely followed by K Group (also known as Kesko, active with the K-citymarket, K-market, and K-Supermarket brands) who recorded a market share of 36.9%. The third largest player in the Finnish grocery sector is the German chain Lidl, who had a share of 9.5%. Other players included: Tokmanni Group 3.2%; Minimani 0.6%; M-ketju 0.3%, others 3.4%. As of 2020, S Group counts 1,056 stores, while K Group had 1,230.
Retail Sector Organisations
Finnish Commerce Federation

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Latest Update: July 2024