The retail market has experienced profound changes in recent years. Although there was a rebound in consumption after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's war with Ukraine and the highest increase in product prices in years quickly changed Poles' shopping attitudes. Rising levels of inflation, and consequently the cost of purchases, are causing an increasing number of consumers to seek savings.
Popular retail chains in Poland
The Polish FMCG market was worth nearly 202 billion zloty in 2022, the value of which was predominantly influenced by food. More than a dozen retail chains are operating in the retail market. The most popular brands include Biedronka, Lidl, Auchan, Kaufland, Carrefour, and Dino (a chain of stores with the Polish capital). The number of franchise stores is increasing. Eurocash Group, which operates both in the wholesale and retail segments, dominates in this field. The popularity of franchised stores is also on the rise. The most popular franchise chains in Poland include Żabka, Sklep Polski, abc, Lewiatan, and Delikatesy Centrum.
In terms of revenue and number of stores, the market leader is Biedronka, owned by the Portuguese company Jeronimo Martins. In 2022, Biedronka's sales amounted to nearly 70 billion zloty. This is almost three times as much as Lidl and more than five times as much as the Auchan chain. Biedronka had 3.4 thousand stores across Poland, becoming the brand with the most developed network. In contrast, Lidl had 850 outlets across the country in 2022.
COVID-19 pandemic's impact on shopping behavior
Closed shopping malls, the deterioration of household finances, the fear of losing one's job, and the increasing digitalization have changed the shopping behavior of Poles. Household spending on groceries increased during the pandemic. Especially in its initial phase, most consumers stockpiled groceries for fear of running out of them in the market. Consumers became increasingly concerned about household finances. Every fourth Pole paid attention to the price of products and services more often than before the pandemic. Saving, which used to be more of a phenomenon in the past, became essential.
Changing habits have had an impact on shoppers' visits to retail stores. Every third Pole started to buy more food in local stores, and every fifth Pole in hypermarkets and supermarkets. Every fifth also began to use online stores more often. Trade restrictions, limited product access, and fear of contracting COVID-19 have increased self-sufficiency among Polish consumers. They have independently begun preparing products such as bread, cakes, cheese, preserves, and growing vegetables and herbs. However, it is difficult to say whether these consumer behaviors will lose their importance after the pandemic or stay longer in Poland.
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