Uganda flag Uganda: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Uganda

Evolution of the Sector
Uganda, with the population of more than 35 million people and an increasing economy, is a potential market for the retail industry. The retail industry sales are estimated at 8 billion US$ in Uganda. The share of wholesale and retail trade in GDP averaged about 18% over the past decade and that in services, around 47%.
The country has the youngest population in the world, with 77% of its population being under 30 years of age and about 18% of its population is between the ages of 15 – 24 years. Many international retailers are operating in Uganda alongside local companies. Over the next 10 years, about 7 million people whose age is between 15 and 24 at the moment will enter the consumer market. These figures show that Uganda is holding a “potential” retail index. Uganda is now developing and becoming one of the most dynamic emerging countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Higher living standards and rising income have enabled people to spend more for their lives.
With the exception of the last financial year, sales have been rising year after year and total turnover of retail sales in 2018 is predicted to overcome the previous year. Despite internal and external factors like political volatility, energy shortages and climatic changes threatening its economic stability, Uganda has emerged with encouraging positive real GDP growth rates throughout the previous decade. Many global analysts remain positive about Uganda’s exponential growth potential in the coming years. For instance, Uganda is counted among the fastest growing economies in Africa, with a growth in per capita income estimated at 3.2% in 2016.
Market share
Historically, the retail sector in Uganda’s major cities has been dominated by a large number of small sized retailers. Traditional “Dduuka” (mom and pop) stores have overshadowed consumers grocery shopping experiences in Uganda. However, after a long absence of large retail chains, new preferences emerging among consumers indicate the advent of important developments at the country’s retail front. The distribution of Dduukashops per thousand populations decreased during 2002-2010 whereas that of supermarkets and hyper-supermarkets rose over the same period. Moreover, the combined share of Dduuka is expected to decline to 50% in future years. On the other hand, supermarkets and hyper-supermarkets are gradually replacing traditional small-scale retailers and gaining popularity by providing a wider array of services under one roof.

Uganda has become home to three of these large supermarkets chains with approximately 12 branches flourishing already and expansion plans underway for many more. Shoprite, the first modern supermarkets chain to establish in the country, offers high quality products at competitive prices for 20,000- 25,000 varieties of food and non-food items under one roof. The Kenya-based supermarkets chains Uchumi and Nakumatt established their first centres in Kampala in 2010 to offer retail solutions to professional buyers for up to 10,000 food and 30,000 non-food items. The most recent addition to the retail market is Tuskysis, another hyper supermarket shelving up to 30,000 items, running successfully in Kampala and suburbs and already planning expansion through more stores.

Retail Sector Organisations
Uganda Retailer and Wholesaler Association

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Latest Update: July 2022

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