Switzerland flag Switzerland: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Switzerland

Evolution of the Sector
The retail sector suffered from the restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 crisis and from the changes in consumer spending, but the industry rebounded in 2021. The turnover of the retail trade sector increased by 4.2% in nominal terms compared to 2020. Retail trade of food, drinks and tobacco stagnated in nominal terms though, after registering a strong growth in 2020 (8.9%) (Federal Statistical Office).

Supermarkets remain the largest grocery channel in overall sales. Two local brands dominate the market: Coop and Migros, which are generally known for its premium products. Several discounters are also active, like the Germans Aldi and Lidl.
The Swiss consumer tends to give importance to the quality of goods, often being attracted by premium products. At the same time, Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest ratio of private label sales (around 50%), also thanks to the wide offer from the two main players: Migros is estimated to have around 250 private brands, while Coop has more than 20 (but with a wide variety of products). According to a study by GfK, Migros and Coop are the two brands to which the Swiss consumers are more loyal.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that followed contributed to a sharp increase in online sales: if online sales represented approximately 8.3% of total retail sales in 2019, their share increased to 11.8% in 2020 (US Department of Commerce). E-commerce generated USD 13.7 billion in 2021 (ecommerceDB), and revenues are projected to reach USD 18.16 billion in 2022 (Statista).

Market share

The two main players in the grocery retail market are Migros and Coop, with a combined market share of around 70%.
Migros is the leader in the sector, employing more than 106,000 persons and counting 2.3 million members organised in ten regional cooperatives. It has 658 supermarkets and recorded a turnover of CHF 28.8 billion in 2021 (+2.2% y-o-y, despite the stagnation of the Swiss retail sector).
Coop counts 2,617 shops, ranging in size from 30 m2 to 8,000 m2 supermarkets. In 2021, the company’s turnover stood at CHF 31.9 billion (of which CHF 19.6 billion in retail sales).
Other players in the Swiss market include: Denner, Lidl, Aldi, and Volg.

Retail Sector Organisations
Swiss Retailers Association (SRA)

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Latest Update: July 2024