Trends on the Polish retail market

Poles go shopping more than the people of 49 other nations according to an international polling agency.
The AC Nielsen Shopper Trends survey said the average Pole goes to a supermarket five times a month, a fruit-and-vegetable shop nine times, a bakery 13 times and a grocery store 16 times.
The average Pole spends 682 zloty a month on food and housekeeping supplies, with 48 percent going to produce.
 Thirty of the 50 countries surveyed were in Europe, according to Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
The survey indicated that most Poles do not know the prices of products they buy regularly. Only one in 20 could give an exact price for bread, milk or butter.
 Contrary to general opinion, Poles do not do comparison shopping, the survey indicated. Only 4 percent are willing to change their shopping place for another shop that is offering cheaper prices. That compares with 16 percent among Europeans as a whole.
Poles are still wary of products with store names on them as opposed to brand names, even if the store-name products are much cheaper. Only 35 percent think store-name products are as good as brand-name products, less than half of the 70 percent figure in Britain.
Because of that, store-name products are a very small percentage of supermarket prices in Poland ? only 5.1 percent in 2006.
The store-name-product market has potential, said Marek Klajda, AC Nielson?s Warsaw-based director of consumer research for Central Europe. But supermarkets ?must invest to change the perception of these products.?
Nielsen?s research indicates that the three biggest supermarket chains control 15 percent of the sales in Poland, the lowest level in Europe. In comparison, the three biggest chains in Denmark have 91 percent of the sales and the three biggest in Slovakia 59 percent.
Nielsen said supermarket consolidation in Poland is inevitable.
In Poland today more than 40 percent of food and housekeeping supplies are sold in grocery shops. That is because more than half of Poles simply walk to a small shop near their home for meat, fruit and vegetables. Most go to a supermarket for shampoo, detergent and other cleaning supplies, however. The number of these small grocery shops is declining but at the same time the number of specialty stores like butcher shops and bakeries have increased ? to 5,000 nationwide. Even in the small-shop arena, consolidation is taking place. Eighty companies own 13,000 of the 75,000 small shops nationwide.
Small shops can fight the supermarkets in three ways, Klajda said. First, they can become part of a chain. Second, they can sell only fresh products ? meat and produce. And, third, they can make alcohol a major portion of their sales. Selling vodka boosts a typical small store?s turnover from 70 percent to 100 percent, Klajda said.

Why does alcohol make a difference? Because people go to a supermarket to stock up. In little shops they buy food for immediate consumption. Alcohol belongs to that category.

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