Ken Research announced its latest publication on, “Retailing in Belgium-Market Summary & Forecasts; Comprehensive overview of the market, consumer, and competitive context, with retail sales value and forecasts to 2020”, offer insights on the changing trends and key issues within the Belgium Retail market. The publication includes an insightful analysis of past and future trends-crucially providing retail sales data not just by channel and by product, but showing product sales through different channels. The analysis of the aforementioned trends has been done across nine product groups including Apparel,Accessories, Luggage and Leather Goods; Books, News and Stationery; Electrical and Electronics; Food and Grocery; Furniture and Floor Coverings; Health and Beauty; Home and Garden Products; Music, Video and Entertainment Software; Sports and Leisure Equipment
Economic Environment of Belgium
Belgium is a federal state with three culturally different regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and the capital city of Brussels. Neighbouring countries have a strong political and economic impact on Belgium. The Belgian economy has been held back by high public debt; average unemployment is lower than the Eurozone average but higher in the Wallonia region.
Coming to the sectoral composition, the service sector dominates the Belgium economy accounting for 75 percent of economic activity and employing a similar proportion of the workforce. Belgium is one of the leading exporters for goods such as electrical equipment, vehicles, diamonds, and chemicals. Followed by the service sector, is the industrial sector accounting for 22% of the GDP and employing 21% of the active population. The agricultural sector is the smallest contributing only 0.7% to the GDP and employing 1.1% of the workforce.
Looking at the key economic snapshot of the country, Belgium is the home to 11.2 million people. With a GDP of $481.5 billion and a per capita income of $42,973, Belgium has a global ranking of 44 and a regional ranking of 21st in Europe. The GDP has a growth rate of 1% and a 5 year compounded annual growth rate of 1.1%. Three fourth of Belgium’s foreign trade is with other EU countries. Foreign investment in the country amounts to USD 4956.7 million. With low average unemployment and improving inflationary conditions, the business environment has become attractive for market players. However certain factors like high debt, higher taxation and rigid labour market is preventing the economy from growing to its full potential. Red tapism is also acting as a disincentive for foreign investors.
Brief Overview of the Retail Market in Belgium
Despite the consistent growth of the global retail market, the Belgium retail market is lagging behind with a lot many factors contributing to a fall in the consumer confidence. Falling consumer confidence is worsening household financial expectations as the risk of unemployment is increasing. Apart from falling consumer confidence, increasing price competition among retail companies is also contributing as a factor for restraining growth of the retail market in Belgium.
Despite of the adverse factors limiting the growth of the Belgium retail sector, it is not be noted that The Belgium retail market has a huge potential because of a vast population of 11 million, its central location in Europe and both German and French languages being spoken. As a result of these factors, the Belgium retail market is competitive and is also an ideal test location for new entrants, seeking to enter the European retail market. The Belgian retail property market can be divided into 3 segments: high streets, shopping centres and retail warehousing. E commerce is a growing retail sales channel in Belgium that recordedthe fastest growth during 2010-15 and is set to grow the fastest in the forecast period, 2015-2020.
The retail market in Belgium has a balance of all high street locations, out-of-town retail and shopping centres. The prime Belgian retail streets are the main shopping streets in the Big Six: Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Liège and Hasselt. The out-of-town retail sector includes hypermarkets and out of town retail shops with the emergence of retail parks during the last decade. The shopping centres culture is less prevalent in Belgium as compared to the rest of Europe, however, few new shopping centre projects are expected to come up. Until then, on the development front, retail warehousing projects remains the leaders.
Major Players in Belgium’s Retail Market
The Belgium retail market is very fragmented, as a result of which the level of competition in the industry is very low. In the food and grocery segment, three companies: Carrefour, Delhaize Group &Colruyt captures approximately 75% of the market share. In the non-food segment, Cassis/Paprika, L&L/Appel’s, AS Adventures, Euroshoe/Advance, Celio are the major retailers. In the emerging segment of online retail, Bol.com and Zalando registered the strongest growth in 2015.
Some of the international retailers operating in the country are H &M, Inditex, Primark, Mediamarkt, Forever 21, Desigual, Ikea, Mango, Superdry, Springfield, Uniqlo. Inditex and Forever 21 which are few of the most dynamic retailers operating in Belgium, benefitted the most from online retailing.
Belgium’s Retail Market Prospects
Although at a slower pace, but the Belgium retail market is expected to grow in the forecast period. Rising disposable income and falling unemployment rates reflects a positive future of the retail market. Other factors contributing to the further development of the retail sector is development of internet retailing along with the emergence of m commerce, expanding Belgian tourist industry, improving labour market conditions, increasing savings rate and falling inflation rates.
However, since the Belgium retail market is already saturated, growth rates in the forecast period will be lower than the growth rates in the review period. Even though innovations like internet retailing are expected to achieve a double digit growth rate, the market is to becoming increasingly mature, restricting its growth potential.
Key Topics Covered in the Report
- Detailed profile of the Retail Market in Belgium
- Consumer demographics, trends and behaviours
- Historic and forecast retail sales value & growth in Belgium’s Retail Market
- Key business requirement for operating in Belgium’s retail market
- Competitive landscape of the Belgium’s Retail market
- Analysis of key distribution channels of Belgium’s retail market
- Regulatory framework applicable to Belgium’s retail market
- Emergence of M commerce and E commerce in Belgian retail market
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications