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Services move further away

Average distance to the closest grocery store in densely built areas

Average distance to the closest grocery store in densely built areas

Source: SYKE. 2013.

Average distance to the closest grocery store in sparsely populated areas

Average distance to the closest grocery store in sparsely populated areas

Source: SYKE. 2013.

Urban-rural classification

Urban-rural classification

The urban-rural classification aims to present different categories on the scale of a map showing the whole country. This methodology enables a distinction between urban and rural areas and allows statistics to be drawn for different categories and combinations thereof. Source: SYKE. 2013.

Longer distances to shops

Finns have begun travelling longer distances to shops in recent years. According to the Finnish Transport Agency’s latest National Travel Survey for 2010–2011, the distance travelled to shops and on personal business averages 7.4 kilometres per person per day. Travel for these purposes has increased more than other types of travel, in comparison with the previous survey conducted six years ago.

The change is due to the concentration of retail businesses and larger retail units. As shopping centres, hypermarkets and shopping areas attract customers from a larger area than before, smaller local shops become less profitable.

Retail service levels are high in densely populated areas. In urban areas, the number and accessibility of grocery shops remained largely unchanged from 2008 to 2012. The fact that many small shops are now open almost 24 hours a day has improved service levels. However, the selection of goods they offer does not suffice for all, which means that customers opt for larger outlets, even in urban areas. In Finland’s rural areas – both in villages and outside them – almost one hundred shops were lost between 2008 and 2012 which made the average distance to the closest shop longer. In 2012, there were around 3,200 shops selling daily consumer goods in Finland.

The tendency to build homes far from existing services is also increasing the average distance to shops. According to the Residents’ Barometer 2010 survey, a grocery store was the most sought-after service in any residential area. As the population ages, genuine corner shops will become even more important than today.

Sources:

  • Finnish Environment Institute. 2013.
  • Strandell A.: Asukasbarometri 2010 - Asukaskysely suomalaisista asuinympäristöistä (Residents’ barometer 2010 – Residents’ Survey on Residential Environments in Finland). The Finnish Environment 31/2011. Finnish Environment Institute. 2011.
  • National Travel Survey. 2010–2011. Finnish Transport Agency.2012.

Many types of grocery stores

Not only has the number of shops decreased somewhat in recent years, but their size has changed. The number of large supermarkets in particular has grown and that of smaller shops has decreased. Almost 70% of residents living in high-rise urban areas have a large super or hypermarket less than one kilometre away.

  • A specialist food store is usually a small shop focusing on one or a few types of goods. For instance, market halls house a range of specialist food shops.
  • A corner shop is usually a relatively small grocery shop situated close to or in the middle of a settlement. In many cases, other services, such as post offices, are provided alongside groceries.
  • A supermarket is a large grocery store that may sell other products in addition to food.
  • A hypermarket’s floor space is 2,500 m2 at a minimum and food products account for less than one half of the total area.

 

Published 2015-04-28 at 10:41, updated 2016-07-21 at 16:40