Category Killer – What is a category killer?

A category killer is a company or retail chain, usually large-scale, that specializes in a branch or category of products and offers a huge variety of items in one place, at very competitive prices.

In addition, they usually have a large advertising budget, a very well-defined commercial strategy, great offers on certain products and customer loyalty systems, as well as different purchasing options (online, ordering from the store, physically, etc.).


Main characteristics of category killers


Some of the characteristics or advantages that differentiate a category killer are:

  • Huge variety of products:  within a certain category, the category killer offers a very varied and wide assortment of products so that the customer has a greater choice. 

  • Competitive prices:  Being large stores, they have greater bargaining power and offer lower prices than in small stores.

  • Trained staff:  Staff is trained to advise you on everything you need during the purchasing process, from product information to problem resolution.

  • Large marketing budget:  they are companies with large budgetary capacity, so they invest a lot in marketing and advertising strategies, which produces results.

  • Location:  they can be found in peripheral areas that have very good access by car, parking space, product collection area, etc.

  • Added extras:  such as loyalty cards, multi-channel sales, customer service and after-sales, shipping, assembly and installation services, and much more.

Examples of category killer

Decathlon is a category killer in the sports sector, since it is a large-scale chain that has a huge range of products, with relatively cheaper prices than any small business can offer.

Other examples are Ikea in the home and furniture sector, Leroy Merlin in the DIY sector, Juguetilandia and Toys R Us for the toy sector, Fnac in the culture area, etc.

Impact of category killers

As we have mentioned, a category killer is a large surface with characteristics that offer great advantages over small and medium-sized companies, whether in economic terms, product variety or scope.

For this reason, the main affected are the SMEs that struggle every day to face the giants of the same category. For example, it is very difficult for a small business dedicated to the technology sector to face a company like Media Markt, which has a huge advertising budget, very competitive prices and a very wide variety of products. 

In the end, customers opt for these large stores due to some of the advantages they offer. This is why they have received the name category killers, since they are destroying other smaller businesses, family businesses, entrepreneurs, etc., who are trying to make their way in a certain sector of the market.