The grocery retail industry in Finland is characterized by an oligopolistic market operated by two retail groups: S Group and K Group. As of 2016, the S Group holds the largest market share with roughly 47 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 2016, 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 Alepa and Sale. The majority of the revenue is generated by Prisma (3.5 billion euros in 2016) and S-Market (3.3 billion euros in 2016). The K Group controls the grocery store chains K-citymarket, K-supermarket, K-market and Neste-K in Finland, K-Ruoka in Russia, as well as outlets previously belonging to Suomen Lähikauppa. In 2016, K-supermarket, K-Citymarket and K-market outlets generated the majority of the group's sales revenue, roughly from 1.5 to two million euros each. The grocery sales revenue of Lidl reached 1.5 billion euros in 2016.
Of the three grocery retailers, the K group had the largest amount of grocery stores, with 1,450 in 2016. 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 approximately 1,050. At the same time, there were 157 stores in the country carrying the brand name of the discounter Lidl. Regarding personnel numbers, the S Group employed approximately 40,000 persons in Finland in 2016, while the K Group employee numbers amounted to roughly a half of that of the S Group.
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 nearly 24 million euros per store in 2016.
The changing needs of the consumer are also reflected in the sales growth of organic and plant-based food products in supermarkets. For instance, the rise of organic product sales in the S Group accelerated annually from 2014 to 2016, reaching a growth rate of over 20 percent in 2016. 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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