Traditional & small businesses in Morocco
This post is the first of a series structured in 7 parts:

  • First part: who are these grocers? How are they organized? What are their needs?
  • Second part: what payment methods they use? Do they grant loans to their customers? Are they interested in payment terminals?
  • The following 4 parts deal specifically with 4 product categories
    • Third part: stocks, sales and communication in the soda category
    • Fourth part: stocks, sales and communication in the cooking oils category
    • Fifth part: stocks, sales and communication in the cookies & biscuits category
    • Sixth part: stocks, sales and communication in the bottled water category
  • Seventh part: main expectations for brand owners and suppliers
After 3 decades of competition with supermarkets, traditional shops still hold 80% of the distribution market, estimated at 200 billion DH.

Proximity, payment facilities, opening hours and home delivery are the main assets of these traditional businesses. Brands have understood this and are giving them more and more importance through promotions, freebies, displays …

Brand performance in traditional stores

In this wave of Market Insights, we interviewed more than 400 traders located in 16 districts of Casablanca -cf. methodology, in order to better understand them. We will then look at 4 categories of products whose market structure is oligopolistic. For each one, we will have a look at the regularity of the supply, the reactivity in the event of stock shortages, the frequency of visits and the level of skills of the salespeople then finally the quality of the communication of these companies with respect to these businesses.

This first part deals with the profile of the owners for these traditional businesses, the surface of their points of sale and their equipment needs.

4 out of 10 grocers in Casablanca are under 35 years old

Business transmitted from father to son or new challenges, local trade seems to attract young people.

According to the results of our study, 4 out of 10 grocers are under 35 and only 13% are over 55.

Traditional businesses in upscale neighborhoods are generally younger than their counterparts in middle and lower-income neighborhoods.

  • 20 – 24 years old 8% 8%
  • 25 – 34 years old 31% 31%
  • 34 – 44 years old 27% 27%
  • 45 – 54 years old 21% 21%
  • More than 55 years old 13% 13%

Mostly very small areas…

With an average size of 37 m², the size necessary for setting up a traditional business is far from being a barrier to entry, unlike supermarkets which require at least 1000 m².

Of all the traditional shops interviewed, 69% have an available area of less than 40 m². This trend is even more accentuated in lower-income neighborhoods where these shops represent 80%. Conversely, a quarter of these small businesses in the middle and upscale districts are comprised of more than 60m² against only 5%in the more popular districts.

…with appropriately sized facilities

8 out of 10 businesses have only a small space or a counter

  • Large open space 18% 18%
  • Small open space 63% 63%
  • Counter only 20% 20%

19% are nevertheless equipped with warehouses

This proportion rises to 32% in upscale neighborhoods and 36% in shops over 40m².


Have access to a warehouse

When asked, most of them mention that they need a tarpaulin!!

The needs expressed by grocers differ according to the size of the business and the type of neighborhood.

Overall, 16% said they needed a tarp and 12% said they needed a surveillance camera.

However, in upscale neighborhoods cameras are mentioned by almost a quarter of our respondents, it is unsurprisingly their greatest need along with with electric curtains (15%).

  • Tarpaulin 16% 16%
  • Surveillance camera 12% 12%
  • Fridge 9% 9%
  • Cash register 9% 9%
  • Electric curtains 8% 8%
  • Counter 8% 8%
  • Others 9% 9%
  • None 28% 28%
The advent of new actors in the market, both more modern and better organized in central Casablanca, such as BIM, SUPECO, Carrefour Market and now Marjane Market, will force these small business to adapt. However, the criticality of their role in brand strategy is not about to diminish.

Before tackling the performance of brands of cookies, bottled water, oils and sodas in traditional shops, we will first discuss the subject of payment. To find out more about the loans they grant to their clients or how they feel about payment terminals, you can check the next article in this series.

Survey methodology
Data collection mode: Face to face

Collection period: from April 4th to April 18th 2019.

Surveyed locations: 16 neighborhoods of Casablanca.

Sample: 410 small businesses.

Quota details

Neighborhood%Sample size
2 Mars5%20
Ain Sbaa4%17
Derb sultan8%34
Hay Hassani6%25
La Gironde8%31
Mers sultan7%29
Q des hopitaux7%30
Sidi Maarouf6%26


Share This