Traditional grocery retailers did not benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic despite the higher demand for groceries seen in 2020 as competition from both convenience stores and food e-commerce, in both 2020 and 2021, resulted in a slightly negative performance for the channel. Traditional grocery retailers do not have the capacity for the logistics or the cost of evolving to meet the new consumer demands, such as offering e-commerce, and as a channel largely composed by small, independent players, traditional grocery retailers saw store closures in 2020 and 2021.
The traditional grocery retailing landscape in Belgium is historically very fragmented, consisting of a high number of small, independent players, therefore “others” holds the majority share. For these small retailers, the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic proved financially difficult to bear and a high number of stores closed in both 2020 and 2021.
Chocolate manufacturers and retailers, such as Leonidas and Neuhaus, have a strong tradition in Belgium and a solid consumer base. However, during the pandemic, the lack of tourists in urban areas and home working had a negative impact on demand.
Over the forecast period, financial pressure linked to the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to progressively soften and traditional grocery retailers, especially small, independent stores, are likely to benefit from this. At the same time, competition from both modern grocery retailers and food e-commerce players is likely to increase.
Two factors might play a positive role in the performance of traditional grocery retailers over the forecast period: the touristic flow progressively recovering to pre-COVID-19 levels and the return to office work in urban areas. Both factors are especially set to benefit stores positioned as premium, including chocolate retailers and grocers specialising in organic products.
To compete with modern grocery retailers, traditional grocery retailers are likely to increase their presence online over the forecast period, especially thanks to the development of platforms such as Bpost, which allows even small players to access delivery options though the wide range of Bpost pick-up points.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Traditional Grocery Retailers industry in Belgium with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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Traditional grocery retailing is the aggregation of those channels that are invariably non-chained and are, therefore, owned by families and/or run on an individual basis. For Euromonitor traditional grocery retailing is the aggregation of three channels: Independent Small Grocers, Food/Drink/Tobacco Specialists and Other Grocery Retailers. While there can be modern (i.e. chained) food/drink/tobacco specialists or other grocery retailers, due to the store's presence in the channel, these stores are still considered as traditional for Euromonitor International.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Traditional Grocery Retailers research and analysis database.
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