Zimbabwe flag Zimbabwe: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Zimbabwe

Evolution of the Sector
Although retailers have existed in Zimbabwe for a long time, the introduction of global brands and outlets has really kick started the sector forcing local retailers to expand their boundaries to compete with their larger international competitors. Over the years, the distribution sector has become increasingly informal and the actors more numerous. The retail sector has undergone significant change since 2010, and after a period characterized by shortages and an inability to function normally. Retail and distribution sectors constitute the largest share of the country's imports, about 70% of products sold by the retail sub-sector are imported.

Due to the size of the market, most producers of goods sell their products to wholesalers who in turn sell to supermarket chains and specialized outlets in towns and general dealer shops in rural areas.  There is a comprehensive and particularly well developed distribution network serving the large supermarket chains in Zimbabwe.
Market share
The informal distribution sector represents a large part of retail and wholesale sectors, although to a lesser extent than in other countries. The economic recession and the lowering purchasing power of the inhabitants have lead to an explosion in the number of small kiosks, stands and little family-owned stores.

The three actors dominating the formal distribution market are:
- OK Zimbabwe (18% of the market share),
- TM Supermarkets (12%)
- Spar (5%).

Retail Sector Organisations
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce

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Latest Update: May 2024