Grocery retailers in Finland - Statistics & Facts

The grocery retail industry in Finland is characterized by an oligopolistic market operated by two retail groups: S Group and K Group. As of 2017, the S Group holds the largest market share with roughly 46 percent of Finnish grocery retail. The share of the K Group, also known as Kesko in Finland, amounts to approximately 36 percent. The third largest player in the Finnish grocery sector is Lidl. The German discount supermarket chain entered the Finnish grocery retail market in 2002 and is registered in the country as Lidl Suomi Ky, operating as a subsidiary of Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG. By 2017, Lidl had acquired nearly one-tenth of the Finnish grocery retail space.

The S Group operates four major Finnish supermarket chains: the hypermarket Prisma, the medium-sized supermarket S-Market, as well as the smaller supermarkets. The K Group primarily controls the grocery store chains K-citymarket, K-supermarket, K-market and Neste-K in Finland. In 2017, K-supermarket, K-Citymarket and K-market outlets generated the majority of the group's sales revenue, roughly from 1.3 to 1.8 million euros each. The grocery sales revenue of Lidl reached nearly 1.64 billion euros in 2017.

Of the three grocery retailers, the K group had the largest amount of grocery stores, with 1,280 in 2017. The significant increase in outlet numbers that year was due to the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa, which was operating the supermarket chains Siwa, Valintatalo and Euromarket. Supermarket stores belonging to the S Group amounted to 1,040. At the same time, there were approximately 170 stores in the country carrying the brand name of the discounter Lidl. Regarding personnel numbers, the S Group employed approximately 39,000 persons in Finland in 2017, while the K Group employee numbers were only nearly half as high, totaling 22,000 that year.

Other players in the Finnish grocery retail sector include the department store chain Stockmann, the hypermarket chain Minimani and the discounter Tokmanni. Although losing market share from 2015 to 2016, the grocery sales of Stockmann department stores amounted to above 24 million euros per store in 2017.

From 2000 to 2017, the average value of a grocery shopping basket in Finland increased from 15.7 euros to 22.7 euros. According to a 2016 survey, responding to individual product needs of a customer and getting value for money played the most dominant role in choosing a grocery store.

The changing needs of the consumer are also reflected in the sales growth of organic and plant-based food products in supermarkets. For instance, organic product sales in the S Group grew at a rate of 16 percent in 2017. Additionally, digitalization and e-commerce are relevant for the grocery shoppers of the 21st century. According to a recent online survey representative of the population, four percent of Finns had bought groceries online within the past month.

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