Consumers perceive a lack of healthy competition

Master Grocers Australia/Liquor Retailers Australia (MGA/LRA) has released findings from a groundbreaking national survey of attitudes to supermarket competition and market concentration in Australia. 

The survey finds 72 per cent of Australians believe the grocery market is too dominated by Coles and Woolworths and that there is not healthy competition.

Three quarters of the surveyed Australians believe competition laws should be strengthened. The motivation to strengthen laws is a fundamental belief that healthy competition delivers a range of benefits, such as:

Lower prices (83 per cent agree).

Greater choice and variety of goods and services (86 per cent agree).

A generally fairer society (82 per cent agree).

MGA/LRA CEO Jos de Bruin said the survey shows a large majority of people believe there is something wrong with this state of affairs.

“They think the duopoly’s market concentration has already gone too far and they don’t believe there is healthy competition,” he said. “They are concerned that they are the losers in terms of price and they want much more choice and variety. As one of the survey respondents put it, ‘More of the same is not competition’.

“But they are also concerned about the wider impact on our society. They perceive there is an unfair impact on Australian farmers and suppliers who have been forced to bow down to the market power of the Big Two. Many also mentioned preserving local jobs and creating a level playing field for small businesses against large ones.”

Mr de Bruin said the survey shows a great deal of support for strengthening laws to create healthy competition.

“As far as we are concerned it is one minute to midnight for competition in the grocery sector and we will be working with the federal Government to convince them that action needs to be taken now,” he said.

According to the survey, 90 per cent believe it is important for local independent supermarkets to survive.

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