Romania: Top-5 Grocery Retailers Headed for 82% Market Share by 2024

The fight for the top position in the modern grocery retail in Romania is becoming tighter, and the biggest actors are growing constantly and becoming bigger. The most powerful five groups – Schwarz (Kaufland and Lidl), Carrefour, Profi, Mega Image (Ahold-Delhaize) and Auchan account for 72% of the almost RON70 billion (EUR15 billion) annual sales of the modern retail.

In comparison, their market share was 54% in 2014 and is estimated at 82% in 2024, a survey by Profi retail chain shows. “The market is maturing and nearing saturation. This has nothing to do with the crisis or the pandemic, but with the fiercer and fiercer competition,” Pawel Musial, Profi CEO has recently said.

Since the heavyweights call the shots on the grocery retail market as on any other market, most modern retail actors continue to expand to squeeze out competition and secure their market position or even climb in the ranking. “The retail market (both modern and traditional retail i.e.) has grown by more than 5% every year,” says Frank Wagner, the executive who runs Lidl’s operations in Romania. Modern retail has gained ground partly because the pie was bigger, reaching 65% to 70% of the entire grocery retail. Things will not change too much in the coming years, the market will continue to grow, Wagner added.

Romania is far from other markets when it comes to modern retail concentration at the top. The top five groups account for 89% of the sales in Germany and for almost 76% in France. Spain and Italy are behind Romania in this respect, with 60.7% and 46.9%. The two markets are known for still having many small retailers popular with consumers.

Modern retail has steadily developed in Romania and only half of the 150,000 traditional retail stores held by entrepreneurs 25 years ago are still in business today. Financial crisis, changes in consumer spending patterns and expansion of foreign networks led to this trend.