Retail in Myanmar witnessed double-digit growth in current value terms in 2022 but this was largely driven by high inflation and the depreciation of the local currency exchange rate. Households became more price sensitive amidst declining purchasing power and many people were forced to look for savings and to focus on essentials.
Grocery retailers account for the bulk of formal retailing and this did not change in 2022, despite the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Due to global events such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China’s zero COVID-19 policy, Myanmar saw spiralling inflation in 2022, which restricted spending power and saw most households focused on fulfilling basic needs.
Myanmar’s retail sales are still dominated by informal channels, with formal retailers responsible for less than 10% of the market. The COVID-19 pandemic and the military coup in 2021 did little to improve this situation with demand for consumer goods through formal channels suffering as a result.
In 2021, new retail outlet openings slowed significantly across Myanmar due to the political and economic shocks following the military coup. There were also retailers which closed stores and exited the market due to an inability to cope with declining profit margins and increasing operational expenses.
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Retail is the sale of new and used goods to consumers from a business for personal or household consumption from retail outlets, kiosks, market stalls, vending, direct selling and e-commerce. Retail is the aggregation of Retail Offline and Retail E-Commerce. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts. Also excludes fuel sales, foodservice sales, rental transactions, and wholesale sales (e.g. Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retail also 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, i.e. retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer that 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 retail.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Retailing research and analysis database.
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