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Woolies’ share declines as Coles and Aldi split proceeds

supermarketAussies spent almost a billion dollars less at Woolworths during the past year, instead shopping for groceries at Coles and Aldi, according to new Roy Morgan research.

The latest quarterly Supermarket Currency report revealed Australians spent $89.8 billion at supermarkets during the 12 months to September 2016 – 87 per cent of the total $103 billion spent on groceries overall.

“With almost $90 billion a year spent at supermarkets, every percentage point change in market share is equal to nearly a billion dollars lost or gained,” said Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research. “A gap of only 3.1 percentage points now separates the two supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, down from eight percent just two years ago, while Aldi has hit a new high and cemented its third spot ahead of IGA.

“Price wars between Coles and Woolworths, and the rise of discount chain ALDI, appear to have stalled growth in the overall market. Between 2008 and 2014, the total national spend at supermarkets grew an average four percent annually, adding around three billion dollars a year to the tills.”

The report estimated locals spent $32.6 billion at Woolworths in the past 12 months – 36.3 percent of all supermarket expenditure nationally. This is down to $825 million compared to last year, representing a decline in market share of 1.4 percentage points.

It is the second consecutive year that expenditure at Woolworths (and its market share) has decreased – from a peak of $34.4 billion in the year to September 2014, or 40 per cent of that year’s market share.

Shares of the $89.8 billion spent at Supermarkets in 12 months to September 2016


Roy Morgan


“Most Woolworths shoppers also shop at Coles and vice versa. Each dollar taken across the street or down the road adds up. For Woolworths, it added up to $825 million taken out of their tills this year,” said Levine.

But it is a very different story across the road: grocery shoppers spent $29.8 billion at Coles this past year, $1.1 billion more than the year before. Coles gained 0.9 percentage points in market share, up to 33.2 percent.

Woolworths’ loss was not solely Coles’ gain: Aldi claimed the other 0.5 percentage points of the market. The German discount supermarket hit a new high as its swivelling seated checkout staff took in 12.5 percent of Australia’s supermarket dollars ($11.2 billion).

IGA gained 0.3 percentage points of market share year-on-year to 9.8 percent ($8.8 billion), while the share for all other supermarkets combined fell by the same amount, down to 8.1 percent ($7.3 billion).

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