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Tesco’s Market Share and Sales Growth: An In-Depth Analysis

Published by Jerry
Edited: 1 month ago
Published: June 16, 2024

Tesco’s Market Share and Sales Growth: An In-Depth Analysis Tesco plc, one of the big four supermarkets in the UK, has experienced significant fluctuations in both its market share and sales growth over the past decade. This in-depth analysis aims to provide insights into the factors influencing these trends, as

Tesco's Market Share and Sales Growth: An In-Depth Analysis

Quick Read

Tesco’s Market Share and Sales Growth: An In-Depth Analysis

Tesco plc, one of the

big four

supermarkets in the UK, has experienced significant fluctuations in both its market share and sales growth over the past decade. This

in-depth analysis

aims to provide insights into the factors influencing these trends, as well as the implications for Tesco’s future prospects.

Market Share

In 2014, Tesco held a 29.3% share of the UK grocery market, making it the leading supermarket at that time. However, since then, its market share has been declining steadily. According to link, Tesco’s market share was down to 27.4% in January 2019, a decrease of nearly 2 percentage points over five years. This decline can be attributed to several factors, including intense competition from other supermarkets and discounters like Lidl and Aldi, as well as Tesco’s own missteps, such as its

accounting scandal

in 2014.

Sales Growth

Tesco’s sales growth has also been lackluster in recent years. Despite its massive market share, Tesco reported a 0.3% sales increase for the 2018/19 financial year, while its larger rival Walmart-owned Asda managed a 0.6% sales growth over the same period. The company’s inability to drive sales growth can be linked to several factors, including weak performance in key categories like non-food and fresh food, as well as increased competition from online retailers such as



Implications and Future Prospects

The decline in Tesco’s market share and sales growth has significant implications for the company. It faces increased competition not just from traditional supermarkets, but also from discounters and online retailers. To stay competitive, Tesco has announced a series of measures, including a renewed focus on price competitiveness, improved product quality, and the expansion of its online and click-and-collect services. Whether these initiatives will be enough to reverse Tesco’s fortunes remains to be seen. However, given the company’s vast resources and strong brand position, it certainly has the potential to bounce back.


Tesco Plc: Market Share and Sales Growth Analysis

Tesco Plc: An In-depth Analysis of Market Share and Sales Growth

Tesco Plc, the UK’s largest retailer, was founded in 1924 by Jack Cohen as a market stall selling surplus groceries in East London. Over nine decades, Tesco has evolved into a global corporation with a diverse range of business segments including groceries, clothing, electronics, financial services, and telecommunications.

Historical Background and Founding

Tesco’s journey began with Jack Cohen buying surplus groceries from market traders in East London and selling them at a profit. The name “Tesco” is an amalgamation of the first two letters of TESt and COlins, the surnames of Cohen’s suppliers. After World War II, Tesco expanded rapidly by opening self-service stores in suburban areas. In the late 1940s, Tesco introduced a revolutionary pricing policy, “Every Little Helps,” which offered customers lower prices than competitors and helped establish Tesco as a market leader.

Current Operations and Business Segments

Today, Tesco operates in 14 countries worldwide with over 7,000 stores. Its main business segment is retail, where it offers a wide range of products and services including food, clothing, electronics, and financial services through various channels such as superstores, convenience stores, online shopping, and mobile applications. Tesco’s non-food business includes Tesco Bank, which offers banking services, and Tesco Mobile, which provides telecommunications services.

Importance of Analyzing Tesco’s Market Share and Sales Growth

Implications for the Retail Industry

Analyzing Tesco’s market share and sales growth is essential as it provides insights into the retail industry’s competitive landscape. Tesco’s successes and failures can influence other retailers’ strategies, leading to innovation or imitation. For instance, Tesco’s introduction of self-service stores, discount pricing, and online shopping have become industry standards that other retailers have adopted to remain competitive.

Impact on Investors and Stakeholders

For investors and stakeholders, Tesco’s market share and sales growth are critical indicators of the company’s financial performance and long-term sustainability. A decline in market share or sales growth can negatively impact Tesco’s stock price, potentially leading to decreased investor confidence and reduced stakeholder support. Conversely, consistent market share and sales growth can attract new investors and strengthen existing relationships with stakeholders.

Market Share Analysis

Definition and explanation of market share

Market share refers to the percentage of total sales or revenue that a particular business or brand holds in its industry or market. It’s an essential metric for businesses to gauge their relative size, performance, and competitiveness within their respective markets.

Tesco’s current market share in the UK grocery sector

Market size and competitors

The UK grocery market is the largest in Europe, valued at over £200 billion per annum. The sector is highly competitive and dominated by a few key players, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, and Lidl.

Market share data

According to Kantar, Tesco held a 26.9% market share in the UK grocery sector as of January 2021, making it the market leader.

Trends in Tesco’s market share over the past decade

Factors contributing to growth or decline

Tesco’s market share has seen fluctuations over the past decade due to various factors, such as intense competition, changing consumer behaviors, and strategic initiatives. In 2013, Tesco’s market share dipped below 30% for the first time in over a decade due to increased competition from discounters like Lidl and Aldi, as well as its own missteps, including an accounting scandal. However, Tesco managed to stage a recovery in subsequent years with strategic investments in price cuts, store refurbishments, and digital transformation.

Impact of competition and industry consolidation

The grocery landscape has seen significant consolidation in recent years, with mergers and acquisitions reshaping the competitive landscape. For instance, Sainsbury’s attempted to merge with Asda in 2018 but ultimately failed to secure regulatory approval. These developments have further intensified competition among the remaining players, putting pressure on market leaders like Tesco to maintain their competitive edge.

Geographical analysis of Tesco’s market share (global vs. regional)

Major markets and their respective market shares

Tesco operates in 14 countries worldwide, but the UK remains its largest market, accounting for about two-thirds of its total revenue. In terms of global market share, Tesco ranked 13th in the Fortune Global 500 list for 2020, with a revenue of $68.4 billion.

Expansion plans and entry into new markets

Tesco has been focusing on expanding its presence beyond the UK, particularly in Asia. It has announced plans to invest £1.3 billion in its Asian business over the next three years, with a focus on growing its e-commerce and convenience store offerings. Tesco entered Thailand in 2019 through a joint venture with Central Group, and it recently opened its first stores in Malaysia as part of a strategic partnership with the local retailer, Seni Montki.


I Sales Growth Analysis

Definition and explanation of sales growth

Sales growth refers to the increase in revenue or sales volume over a specific period. It is an essential metric for businesses to evaluate their performance and profitability. Tesco, one of the world’s largest retailers, has shown varying sales growth trends throughout its history.

Tesco’s historical sales growth figures

Annual revenue reports from Tesco’s financial statements

According to Tesco’s Annual Reports and Accounts, the company’s sales revenue grew from £37.8 billion in 2014 to £38.4 billion in 2015, representing a 1% increase. However, sales decreased by 0.3% in 2016 to £38.1 billion.

Comparison to industry growth and inflation rates

To evaluate Tesco’s sales growth, it is essential to compare it with the industry growth rate and inflation. The Food Retail Industry in the UK experienced a sales growth of 1.6% in 2015 and 0.8% in 2016, while inflation was at 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively. Tesco’s sales growth fell below both the industry average and the inflation rate during this period.

Breakdown of sales growth by business segment (food, non-food, etc.)

Percentage contribution to total sales for each segment

Tesco’s revenue was primarily generated from its food business, contributing 61.8% of the total sales in 2015. The non-food segment accounted for 38.2% of the revenue during the same period.

Sales growth trends and factors influencing each segment

The food business experienced a sales growth of 0.6% in 2015, mainly due to the price reduction strategy that led to an increase in customer footfall. The non-food segment, however, recorded a sales decline of 0.8% due to the weak consumer demand for non-essential items.

Analysis of Tesco’s pricing strategy and its impact on sales growth

Comparison to competitors’ pricing strategies

Tesco’s price reduction strategy was a response to its competitors, such as Albert Heijn and Lidl, which had gained market share due to their lower prices.

Impact on market share and customer base

Although the pricing strategy led to a short-term increase in sales, Tesco’s market share continued to decline due to customers switching to competitors. The loss of market share ultimately impacted Tesco’s long-term sales growth.

E. External factors influencing Tesco’s sales growth

Economic conditions (inflation, unemployment)

Economic factors, such as inflation and unemployment, significantly impacted Tesco’s sales growth during this period. The 1.6% inflation rate in 2016 resulted in higher costs for Tesco, reducing its profit margin.

Consumer trends and preferences

Changes in consumer preferences towards healthier food options and a shift towards online shopping affected Tesco’s sales growth. The growing popularity of discount stores like Lidl and Aldi also contributed to the decline in Tesco’s market share.

Technological advancements and e-commerce growth

Finally, the rapid growth of technological advancements and e-commerce influenced Tesco’s sales growth. The increasing popularity of online shopping and delivery services led to a decline in foot traffic for brick-and-mortar stores, such as Tesco.

Strategies for Maintaining Market Share and Sales Growth

Tesco’s Recent Initiatives to Boost Sales and Market Share

Tesco, the UK-based multinational grocery and retail corporation, has been implementing several strategies to boost sales and maintain market share in the highly competitive retail industry. Some of these initiatives include:

Investment in Technology (Digitalization, Automation)

Tesco has been focusing on digitalizing and automating its operations to enhance the shopping experience for customers. This includes the development of a digital platform that allows customers to shop online, track their orders, and make payments through various channels. Moreover, Tesco has been investing in automation technologies such as robotics and drones to streamline its warehouse operations and improve efficiency.

Expansion of Non-food Offerings and Services

In addition to food, Tesco has been expanding its non-food offerings and services to cater to the changing needs of consumers. This includes partnerships with third-party service providers to offer financial, insurance, and telecommunications services to customers. Tesco’s strategic expansion into non-food segments has helped it diversify its revenue streams and attract a wider customer base.

Strategic Partnerships and Acquisitions

Tesco has been actively pursuing strategic partnerships and acquisitions to strengthen its market position and enhance its offerings. For instance, it has partnered with Google to offer a voice-activated shopping service through Google Assistant. Tesco has also acquired several businesses in the tech and digital space, such as Dunnhumby, which specializes in customer data analytics, to gain a competitive edge.

Potential Challenges and Risks for Tesco’s Future Growth

Despite Tesco’s recent initiatives, there are several challenges and risks that could impact its future growth:

Intensifying Competition from Other Retailers

The retail industry is highly competitive, and Tesco faces stiff competition from other major players such as Walmart, Amazon, and Aldi. These competitors are constantly innovating and offering new services to attract customers, making it essential for Tesco to stay agile and adapt to changing market conditions.

Economic Downturn or Recession

An economic downturn or recession could impact Tesco’s sales and profitability, as consumers may cut back on discretionary spending. Moreover, a recession could lead to increased competition and price wars among retailers, further eroding Tesco’s market share.

Changing Consumer Preferences and Shopping Behaviors

Consumer preferences and shopping behaviors are constantly evolving, and Tesco must adapt to these changes to remain competitive. For instance, the shift towards online shopping and contactless payments is accelerating, and Tesco must invest in digital technologies to offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience.

Future Growth Prospects and Opportunities for Tesco

Despite the challenges, there are several growth prospects and opportunities for Tesco:

Emerging Markets and Expansion Plans

Tesco has identified several emerging markets, such as China and Central Europe, for expansion. These markets offer significant growth opportunities due to their large populations and rising disposable incomes. Tesco’s entry into these markets could help it diversify its revenue streams and gain a foothold in new customer bases.

Innovative Product Offerings and Customer Engagement Strategies

Tesco can differentiate itself from competitors by offering innovative product offerings and customer engagement strategies. For instance, it could invest in sustainable and locally sourced products to cater to the growing demand for ethical and eco-friendly goods. Tesco could also offer personalized shopping experiences and loyalty programs to enhance customer engagement and retention.



Over the past decade, Tesco‘s market share and sales growth trends have undergone significant fluctuations. From being the UK’s largest retailer with a market share of over 30%, Tesco experienced a decline due to intense competition and changing consumer preferences. However, the company has shown signs of recovery with a focus on cost reduction, revitalization of its stores, and investment in digital transformation. Between 2013 and 2018, Tesco’s sales growth averaged around 1%, but since then, the company has reported continuous annual sales growth.


The implications of Tesco’s market share and sales growth trends for investors, stakeholders, and the retail industry are substantial. For investors, the recovery signals a potential turnaround for Tesco’s stock value. The company’s focus on cost reduction and digital transformation has started to bear fruit, leading to improved profitability. For stakeholders, the recovery signifies Tesco’s commitment to delivering value and creating sustainable growth for all its stakeholders. As for the retail industry, Tesco’s turnaround serves as a reminder that even large retailers can adapt and innovate to stay competitive in an ever-changing market.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for Tesco is promising, with several potential opportunities for continued growth. The company’s digital transformation efforts have set the stage for further innovation in areas like artificial intelligence, automation, and personalized shopping experiences. Tesco’s expansion into new markets such as Central Europe and Asia also presents opportunities for growth. Moreover, the growing trend towards online shopping and home delivery is expected to benefit Tesco significantly due to its strong online presence and investment in digital technologies.


In conclusion, Tesco’s market share and sales growth trends over the past decade have been marked by challenges and opportunities. The company’s turnaround signals a promising future with potential for continued growth through digital transformation, expansion into new markets, and capitalizing on the growing trend towards online shopping.

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June 16, 2024