Australia’s supermarket landscapeWoolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Metcash (IGA) dominate Australia’s grocery retail market, with Woolworths holding a market share of over 35 percent. Its primary competitor, the Coles Group, followed with a market share of around 28 percent. Over the past decade, the annual revenue of supermarkets and grocery stores in Australia has witnessed steady growth, with the industry remaining resilient throughout the pandemic.
Are food prices spiraling out of control?Grocery price inflation has been a key topic of contention over the past few years in Australia, with almost 45 percent of households citing grocery expenses as a source of stress in a 2023 survey. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) of grocery products in Australia rose across most categories in 2023, with bread and cereal items seeing an annual growth of 8.2 percent. To save money, many grocery shoppers nationwide hunt for deals and switch between different supermarkets to buy certain products.
Nonetheless, it cannot all be left down to the consumers. In January 2024, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it would conduct an inquiry into the country’s supermarket sector to examine pricing and competitive practices among major retailers, including Woolworths, Coles, and Aldi, to ensure Australians are paying fair prices for groceries. The profit margins of Woolworths and Coles increased in 2023 despite the cost-of-living crisis, with some consumers viewing this as evidence of inflationary profiteering. Alongside the ACCC inquiry, the government planned to provide funding to consumer advocacy group CHOICE to create price transparency and comparison reports to provide detailed information to customers to help them save money amid excessive price increases.