Marjane, BIM, and Carrefour are Moroccans’ favorite supermarkets.
Rabat – Moroccan shoppers are slowly straying from traditional open-air markets (souks) and neighborhood grocery stores in favor of modern supermarkets, a recent survey has found.
Morocco is known for its sprawling souks filled with spice pyramids, overflowing crates of produce, and household essentials hanging from the rafters. The souk provides an abundance of jobs for merchants and fresh products for buyers, while neighborhood grocery stores offer convenience and solidify Morocco’s communal society.
The country’s consumers, however, are beginning to stray from the traditional marketplace, drawn to the fluorescent lights and name brands of Carrefour and Marjane.
Morocco’s Sunergia Group released a study last week detailing shifts in Moroccans’ consumption.
According to the findings, 33% of Moroccans shop at medium-sized markets and supermarkets at least once a week.
The figure is a 13-point increase from the Group’s 2018 data, when only 20% of respondents said they shopped at modern supermarkets. In Casablanca, where purchasing power is higher, 43% of respondents said they visit supermarkets at least once a week.
The report adds that 21% shop at supermarkets once a month, 21% visit twice a month, and 25% visit rarely or never. According to Sunergia Group, the latter segment is primarily lower-income shoppers.
The report is based on responses from 1,024 internet users. This surveying method differs from Sunergia’s 2018 approach, which could factor into the changes in data.
Unsurprisingly, supermarket shopping links directly to purchasing power. More than half (53%) of Moroccan supermarket shoppers earn at least MAD 20,000 ($2,160) per month, compared to 27% who earn less than MAD 6,000 ($648).
The majority of survey respondents who frequent supermarkets “are part of an affluent socio-professional category (middle class and over) residing in the urban environment,” Sunergia reports.
Respondents who do not frequent supermarkets tend to be lower-income and live in rural areas.
This category prefers traditional shopping avenues such as souks. In Moroccan open-air markets, shoppers do not pay for name brands or excessive packaging. Shoppers can even haggle their way to a bargain, something that is not possible in a supermarket with fixed prices.
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Marjane remains Morocco’s favorite supermarket, in line with Sunergia’s 2018 findings.
Forty-five percent of respondents said they do most of their supermarket shopping at Marjane, followed by BIM (24%), Carrefour (14%), Aswak Assalam (8%), Carrefour Market (4%), Marjane Market (3%), and Atacadao (2%).
In 2018, 36% preferred Marjane, followed by Carrefour (8%), BIM (7%), Aswak Assalam (5%), Acima (4%), Carrefour Market (3%), and Atacadao (1%).
While some Moroccans are beginning to favor supermarkets, tradition still prevails: 40% do the majority of their shopping at souks or neighborhood grocery stores, compared to 30% who frequent supermarkets.
Respondents from the traditional group visit supermarkets rarely, once every four months or even less. This group prefers to shop at souks and neighborhood grocery stores and live all over the country. According to Sunergia, young, single women are well-represented in this group.
The supermarket lovers prefer Marjane and Carrefour and tend to live in Casablanca, Morocco’s economic capital. Sunergia says this group includes married people aged 45 and older.
A third group, 29% of respondents, say they occasionally visit supermarkets, preferring BIM over larger chains. Married men aged 35 and older are common in this segment of the respondents. This group represents this demographic all over the country.
Shopping preferences also depend on the shopping list.
Neighborhood grocery stores are the most popular among respondents looking for water, drinks, dairy products, and cleaning products. Souks are the most popular places to purchase produce, meat, and fish. Only 11% of respondents said they shop for produce and meat at supermarkets.
Although more and more Moroccan shoppers are starting frequent supermarkets, souks and neighborhood grocery stores are unlikely to ever go out of style.