Competitor Strategies in Retailing

June 2022

COVID-19 influenced changes in consumer behaviour. Accelerated digital transformation impacted all areas of retailing, starting from supply and logistics and ending with consumer habits and channel preferences. Consumers now focus on sustainability, convenience, value for money offers, quick commerce and other. This briefing discusses how retailers are adapting to this changing environment with new strategies and provides an outlook for retail in the next five years.

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Key Findings

Rationality in spending accelerates discounters and private label development

In a post-pandemic world, consumers remain rational in terms of their spending, looking for a balanced value versus quality ratio. As a result, discounters and private label products are becoming a priority choice for grocery shopping.

Global retailing is consolidating

Retailing is undergoing a period of significant change - consumer preferences are shifting, logistics and supply chains are becoming more complex, new channels are emerging and the industry is becoming more global. International players are expanding to new markets, and as a result, global retailing continues to be shaped by a process of consolidation.

Offline stores continue to evolve from selling goods to focus on customer experience

Despite a digital shift, consumers still go to offline stores, but with higher expectations. Offline stores are an important touchpoint in the consumer journey. Brands are reforming the retail experience to build trust and loyalty with an omnichannel presence. They focus not only on selling products but providing an integrated and personalised experience.

Rising sustainability concerns

Consumers pay growing attention to sustainability questions and influence retailers to change their strategies. While sustainability is a focus for most brands, retailers still have room for improvement and to take a more active position.

Omnichannel development driven by digital shifts

Consumers expect convenience at every step of the shopping journey: online and offline presence, seamless brand communications and quick delivery or pick-up. To stay relevant, omnichannel has become a must-have.


Key findin gs


Companies at a glance
Walmart leads the global retailing market
Diverse approaches to M&A among market leaders
Carrefour stands out as others find it difficult to grow beyond their core geographies
To avoid localisation costs, companies focus on their main brands and standardised approach


Value for money remains the most important purchase attribute for consumers
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerates discounters’ development
Half of global discounters' value covered by Lidl and Aldi
Stores will continue to evolve to meet consumer experience expectations
International brands provide consumers with new experiences
Driven by digital shifts, omnichannel becomes must-have
Companies expand omnichannel presence across the globe
Consumers prefer quick commerce convenience, but businesses face sustainability issues
Impulse purchases are increasingly driven by quick delivery options
Sustainability is a must, but retailers still have room for development
Definition of sustainability has widened for businesses during pandemic
Sustainable solutions as a response to growing consumers’ concern


Prospects : Online retailers will take over
Key takeaways
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Sales of new and used goods to the general public for personal or household consumption. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts, fuel. Also excludes foodservice, rental and hire and wholesale industries (Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retailing is the aggregation of Store-based retailing and Non-store retailing. Retailing excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, ie retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer which is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retailing. In relation to click and collect purchases (i.e. where purchases are made over the internet but picked up at store) where the sales data is attributed depends on where the payment is made: If payment is made in store, then the sale is included in store-based sales. If payment is made over the internet, then the sale is included in internet retailing.

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