Kenya flag Kenya: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Kenya

Evolution of the Sector
The Kenyan retail food sector has expanded significantly during the last ten years as a result of population growth, urbanization, a growing middle class, and a financially attractive business environment. The sector will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% at constant 2016 prices over the 2017 to 2021 forecast period, according to Euromonitor International 2016 estimates. The value of sales in the grocery retail sector reached $7.4 billion from 103 410 retailers in 2016, according to Euromonitor International.

The penetration of formal retail establishments estimated at 30% is mainly concentrated in the urban and suburbs. Informal establishments continue to play a dominant role in stabilizing the sector with over 70% of Kenyans doing their shopping at kiosks/dukas, and roadside stalls. The local retail chains still maintain dominance evidenced by countrywide and regional coverage in the retail sector despite intense competition from the new entrants. The entry of international players in Kenya’s retail market space, the increasing purchasing power of a growing middle class, a robust macroeconomic growth, and affordable retail space attributed to a proliferation of shopping malls in the last five years and, among other factors has led to continued expansion of the retail sector.

An emerging trend in the distribution channels is online retail platforms such as Jumia (an online food delivery business), OLX, and Kilimall, supported by mobile payments, increased internet penetration, access, and usage. Kenya’s internet penetration stands at 82.6%, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK). The retailers are also increasing space for general merchandise such as footwear, apparel, and sports goods to tap into the growing consumer market, and to grow sales revenues.
Market share
The Kenyan retail sector remains largely informal, including small local shops (‘dukas’), table-top kiosks, market stalls, cosmetic outlets, telecom kiosks and pharmacies. According to research by Nielson, large majorities of Kenyan shoppers frequent dukas (95%) and kiosks (92%). Nonetheless, Kenya’s formal retail sector is highly developed by African standards, with 89% of shoppers reporting that they frequent supermarkets.

Kenya’s grocery retail market is dominated by the following local supermarket chains in 2016:
- Nakumatt (34 stores), average annual sales of USD 600 million
- Tuskys (45 stores)
- Uchumi (22 stores)
- Naivas (29 stores)
Small retailers are also in the midst of expansion in Kenya, including Mulleys & Sons, GreenMart, QuickMart, Maathai Supermarket, EastMatt and CleanShelf.

Foreign chains have faced resistance in the country. Nevertheless, the French supermarket chain Carrefour opened two stores in Nairobi, one in 2015 and the other in 2017. That same year, South Africa’s Massmart opened its Game store in Nairobi, and Botswana’s Choppies announced plans for an acquisition of ten Ukwala supermarket outlets.

Kenya’s e-commerce market is worth an estimated USD 47.3 million. Key players in the country’s online shopping scene include Jumia, Kilimall and OLX.

Retail Sector Organisations
Retailers Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK)
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce
Ministry of Economy Kenya

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2024