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Asian retail growth mitigates poor performance in the West

By RJ Whitehead , 12-Nov-2012
Last updated on 12-Nov-2012 at 07:19 GMT

The rise of the Japanese owner of 7Eleven is synonymous with the charge of grocery retail in Asia, and backs up the latest study by Euromonitor into the subject.

The Tokyo giant has, for the first time, sealed second slot in the rankings, having pushed Carrefour, Europe’s leading retailer, into third place and Tesco into fourth. America’s Walmart is still the leading retailer globally.

According to Euromonitor, 2012 has witnessed the fastest growth the researcher has seen since it first started measuring retail data in 1999, with an increase of over 5.5% across the world. 

However, this speedy growth hasn’t been as robust as it might seem because much of it is inflationary-led. Especially in Europe, which there has been much negative real growth. Other markets, like Australia, Japan and the US are also barely growing.

Asia on a charge

This means that new markets in Asia have been performing extremely well, with the Middle East sharing the accolade of highest performing region, with 14% growth in nominal terms, and this on the back of very rapid growth in the store network. The region is traditionally measured alongside Africa for reporting.

Other emerging markets have also been doing well, particularly China,” said Daniel Latev, Euromonitor’s global head of retailing research. “While there has been much discussion about the market slowing down there, analysts have not been seeing this happen this year, and do not expect to do so in 2013.” 

Outlet performance has been robust with 3% growth in 2012-13 expected. And also in terms of real growth, the market is rising at about 10% in 2012, and is expected to continue in a similar way next year.

Non-grocery store sales on the wane

In terms of channel performance, grocery is outperforming non-grocery quite significantly, although the only place where this has not been happening is the Middle East and Africa. 

This is largely because of the very rapid development of Internet retailing, which is the fastest-growing channel, with a share of over 20% globally. 

Online now represents over 3% of all retail spend in 2012,” said Latev. “We expect this to double to almost 7% by 2017, and so there will be very rapid growth indeed.”

This is posing many difficulties for many retailers and brings about many questions for how to adapt their businesses. And in terms of a competitive environment, we are seeing in 2012 some big changes. 

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