The Largest Australian Retailers

Stats and Retail Trends for Grocery, Internet, Global Retailing Down Under

Largest Australian Retailers Australia Retail Industry Overview
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Even though it is at the bottom of the continental population list, Australia’s rank is high on the list of the world’s largest retailers. Australian retailers do not have prominence on other continents, but within its own borders, retailing is the largest employer, with an estimated 50% of the population having worked in retail at some time in their career.

Each year a “Global Powers of Retailing” report is compiled by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu ranks retail companies of all types in all countries according to total revenue.

 For at least a decade, that list has included Australian retail companies with annual revenue large enough to be ranked among the Largest Retail Companies in the World.

What follows is the largest retail companies with headquarters in Australia, which are also among the largest retail chains in the world. This source of these retail revenue rankings is the 2016 Global Powers of Retailing report, which reflects revenues generated in FY 2014.  Compare the 2016 rankings with those from 2010 to see how each of the largest Australian retail companies have improved, compared to every retail company everywhere in the past six years.

Largest Retail Companies in Australia

Woolworths Ltd
2016 Global Ranking - #21
2010 Global Ranking - #26
Convenience/ Forecourt Store, Discount Department Store, Electronics Specialty, Other Specialty, Supermarket

Wesfarmers Ltd.
2016 Global Ranking - #23
2010 Global Ranking - #28
Supermarket 

Grocery and Supermarket Retailing in Australia

There's a reason why the only two Australian retailing companies that are big enough to be included on the "World's Largest Retailers" list each year are both grocery retailing companies.

The statistics from the Grocery Store and Supermarket segment of the Australian Retail Industry tell the story, "by the numbers":

  • $101 billion - Annual retail revenue for Grocery Stores and Supermarkets
  • 3.9 - Percentage of annual growth in the Grocery and Supermarket segment between 2011 and 2016
  • 328,511 - The number of retail grocery store and supermarket employees (in 2015)
  • 2,022 - The number of retail grocery store and supermarket locations in Australia (in 2015)

Australian Retail Industry and Retail Economy Statistics

Australia is not one of the largest retail industries in the world nor are Australian based retailing companies a formidable threat on the global retail stage.  But that's understandable considering that Australia is a country with a population barely over 24 million people, which gives i a ranking of #53 on the World's Most Populated Countries List.

Despite the global retail industry comparison, the Australian retail industry is a large and significant part of the Australian retail economy.  Consider these most recent statistics from the Australian retail industry, which reveal the importance of Australian retailing, by the numbers:

  • $120 billion - Total economic activity in retail sectors (source: retail.org)
  • 1.5 - Percentage of retail trade growth from 2014 to 2015 (source: Australian Government Productivity Commission)
  • 5.99 - Average year-over-year increase in total Australian retail industry revenue between 1983 and 2016 (source: trading economics.gov)
  • 5500 - Total number of retail companies (source: retail.org)
  • 77,000 - Total number of brick-and-mortar retail locations 
  • 1.7 million - Total number of retail industry jobs (source: retail.org)
  • $60 billion - Wages earned by Australians working in the retail industry in 2015 (source: retail.org)
  • 11% - Percentage of all employed Australians working in the retail industry
  • 40% - Percentage of retail industry employees who only work part-time.

Trends in the Australian Retailing Industry

  • Longer sales hours
  • Category killers located in outlying areas with lower real estate prices
  • Fewer individually owned boutiques, more retail specialty chains
  • More consumer self-service, and less direct customer service assistance
  • Labor-saving technological advancements
  • Increased productivity due to better and more timely data
  • Increased number of hypermarkets
  • High street renovations and renaissance
  • Increase in private label brands to increase profits
  • International expansion of Australian-based retailers

Judging from these overall retail industry statistics and trends, it's clear that Australian retailing is not that much different from the U.S. retail industry.

Global Retail Presence on the Australian Retailing Landscape

Foreign retail companies are also strongly represented in Australia, with retailing companies like Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Zara, Fossil and Costco capitalizing on the rising sales potential. In fact, startupsmart.com.au states that 43% of online sales in Australia go to overseas companies that are doing business in physical stores within Australia's borders and online.

RELATED:  U.S. Retail and Restaurant Chains Doing Business in Australia >>

 Australia’s GDP has shown continued growth throughout the economic downturn of recent years, thanks in part to the relatively large contribution of the retail sector.   Through an increase in entrepreneurship and franchising, retail has become a driving force with a vital role in the Australian economy.

Online Retailing

The Australian retail industry growth has been fueled by the rise of the shopping mall, private equity investors, big-box retailers, vertical brand integration, and internet shopping.

Online retailing in Australia is a challenge due to its isolated geography and the transportation challenges associated with the procurement of merchandise not produced within its borders.  Despite that, Internet retailing is growing in Australia and in 2015 it is estimated that that Internet retail sales in Australia totaled $22.1 billion, which represents a 7%  increase from 2014. 

According to Smart Company Australia, these were the Top Ten Internet Based Retailers in Australia in 2015:

  1. Temple and Webster - Homewares
  2. Kogan - Electronics, Groceries and more
  3. The Iconic - Apparel
  4. Catch of the Day - Homewares
  5. Booktopia - Bookstore
  6. JB Hi-Fi - Consumer Electronics
  7. Red Balloon - Specialty Gifts
  8. Dan Murphy's - Liquor 
  9. Lorna Jane - Activewear
  10. Shoes of Prey - Custom Shoes