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Polish consumers, regardless of their levels of disposable income, let price be their guide when deciding where to shop, according to a survey conducted by Research PMR. Nearly half of the survey’s respondents indicated that they regularly shop at Biedronka. Discounters remain the most popular shopping locations, followed by hypermarkets.

Small shops preferred for buying bread

Polish consumers are prone to shop in modern distribution channels – hypermarkets, supermarkets and discount shops – when buying household chemicals and packaged products such as flour, pasta, rice, grains, cereals, spices and beverages, according to a survey conducted by Research PMR. Yet when buying bread, Poles are more of a mind to visit small grocery shops, fairs and open air markets. Up to 75% of the respondents indicated they visit smaller shops (which they patronize most often) to make daily purchases of bread. However, Poles are far less likely to purchase household chemicals, packaged goods, beverages and sweets in these small outlets. This is most probably because these products can be bought in bulk, can be stored for longer, and usually have extended expiration dates.


Discounters prevail among the most popular chains

Almost half of the surveyed indicated that they regularly shop at Biedronka, a discount chain. These consumers also gave high rankings to the discounters Lidl (third) and Kaufland (fifth). During the crisis year of, according to GfK data, Poland was the only country in Central and Eastern Europe in which discount chains were more popular than supermarkets or hypermarkets. Further, Poland remains the only country in which this popularity persists. By comparison, following the economic crisis customers in other countries of the region returned to their supermarkets and hypermarkets (for more information on this trend, see the article entitled “Popularity of modern retail formats on the rise in Central and Eastern Europe”).

Research PMR’s survey seems to corroborate the popularity of discount shops: 83% of the respondents regularly shop in one of the discount chains; 63% prefer hypermarkets (respondents could choose more than one answer). Further down the list of everyday shopping destinations, Tesco and Carrefour joined the club of the top five most popular chains in Poland. To note, these are also chains that – just like discounters – offer a broad assortment of private label goods with lower prices. This confirms just how important price is to Polish consumers. Yet it is also worth remembering that these retailers maintain an extensive networks of outlets that have a variety of formats: hypermarkets, supermarkets, neighbourhood shops and petrol station shops, a fact that also contributes to their popularity.

For some time, discount chains have been trying to redirect consumer focus. Rather than concentrating on lower prices, the chains have put the focus on the high quality of the products they offer. The chains are striving to launch niche, branded products targeted at consumers who are seeking more than just the best price. Biedronka is currently trying to position itself more as a convenience shop rather than a standard discount chain, highlight the convenient locations of its shops, and to emphasize its low prices. Given these findings of Research PMR, Biedronka seems to be right on the money: respondents disclosed that price and proximity are the key factors affecting their decision on where to shop.

By comparison, only 1% of the surveyed said that they regularly shop in delicatessens such as Alma and Piotr i Paweł. In this case, price seems to be the deciding factor, though delicatessen chains have also decided to lower their prices amidst a crisis that has impelled consumers to focus on savings. Another factor that diminishes consumer popularity with delicatessens is their substantially less developed chains.


Consumers look for premium quality at low prices

According to Poles, quality and price are the most important factors they take into considerations when deciding what product to purchase. Much less important are factors such as the product’s manufacturer or the consumer’s knowledge of the brand.


Countrywide consumer survey conducted by Research PMR in October on a representative sample of 1,000 adult Poles. Estimated error level of approximately 3%.
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