Switzerland flag Switzerland: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Switzerland

Evolution of the Sector
According to a report by Credit Suisse, in 2019 sales in the Swiss retail sector stagnated. While the food and near-food sectors grew by 0.5% last year, sales in the non-food sector fell by 0.3%, with the fashion industry suffering also due to a progressive switch of consumers’ purchases from brick-and-mortar stores (-4.5%) to online retailing. However, many Swiss consumers still prefer not to shop online: according to a survey by Eurostat, 17% of Swiss consumers prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores.

Concerning food retail, in 2019 supermarkets remained 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 in 2020 and the restrictions that followed contributed to a sharp increase in online sales: if the online share of total retail sales stood at approximately 9% in 2019 (GfK), estimates by the Credit Suisse see a jump of around 30% in 2020, meaning that online sales would account for nearly 15% of total retail sales by the end of the year).

Market share

The two main players in the grocery retail market are Migros and Coop, with a combined market share of nearly 70%.
Migros is the leader in the sector, employing 106,000 persons and counting 2.22 million members organised in ten regional cooperatives. It has 612 supermarkets and recorded a turnover of CHF 23.7 billion in 2019 (+1.9% y-o-y, despite the stagnation of the Swiss retail sector).
Coop counts 2,313 shops, ranging in size from 30 m2 to 8,000 m2 supermarkets. In 2019, the company’s turnover stood at CHF 17.7 billion.

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: June 2022

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