What you need to know

The Italian grocery market is under considerable pressure at the moment and 2018 was the first year since the recession-influenced 2014 when spending on groceries contracted in real terms, driven by the poor performance of the economy and the manifestation of this in the form of squeezed incomes.

Additionally, competition within the sector is fierce and Italy continues to be a tough nut to crack for foreign operators, with Carrefour, the largest of these, being ranked only eighth in terms of turnover, while rival Auchan gave up the struggle and sold the majority of its Italian interests in 2019 to market leader, Conad. Meanwhile, discounters are eating into the business of many of the mainstream grocers and the pressure from this area has been exacerbated by the relatively recent market entry of Aldi.

However, there remain considerable opportunities: online grocery shopping has yet to take off but there is a large gap between the percentage of shoppers who sometimes buy online and those who mostly or always do so. Any retailer that can win over a chunk of these ‘sometimes’ shoppers could potentially open up a useful new source of incremental revenue.

Areas covered in this report

This report covers the grocery sector in Italy, with a focus on supermarket, hypermarket and convenience store operators. The report does not cover the smaller food retailers, such as specialists (bakers, butchers etc., although some reference is made to them for context), markets, CTNs or wholesalers, in detail, nor does it cover food sold via non-food retailers, such as department stores.

The report combines analysis of the market in Italy, including market sizes and forecasts for consumer spending on grocery items and food retailers’ sales, along with our in-depth consumer data which analyses shoppers’ behaviours in Italy. We also include a number of relevant company profiles.

For our consumer research this year we asked questions on the following topics:

  • Who shops for groceries

  • How people shop for groceries.

  • Grocery retailers used

  • Attributes associated with different types of grocery store.

For the purpose of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Consumer spending: The total amount spent by Italian households (including sales tax) on food, drink and tobacco. This is for retail purchases only, and excludes foodservice spending, such as through bars, hotels and restaurants. Tobacco is the exception to this rule.

Retail sales: Total sales of all types of goods and services (excluding sales tax) by grocery retailers. It includes online sales of these retailers where the majority of sales are in bricks and mortar outlets.

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