Concept of Monopoly companies in Australia

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List of Monopoly companies in Australia:

A monopoly could be understood as a scenario when a single company and its respective product range significantly dominate either a particular sector or entire industry. It could be considered as a practical and extreme result of extended free-market capitalism (Casson, 2016). The term monopoly is most commonly used for the definition of the entity that has near-total or total control over the entire market segment. In a monopolistic situation, a single group, entity, or company eventually becomes significantly large that it gains complete or near-complete market, including goods, commodities, supplies, infrastructure, and assets associated with a particular service or product.

Article Summary

The present report will shed light on an important term used in economy of every country i.e. monopoly which means the control of a single firm over the industry or market. To understand it, market of Australia has analyzed and it is observed that two sectors supermarkets and banking in Australia possess monopoly. Woolworths and Coles represented 80 per cent of the market in supermarkets industry whereas in banking sector ANZ, NAB and Commonwealth are the major banks which possess monopoly. The other feature of monopoly presented that most of these companies are in the race to maximize their share and profits. These companies are the market price makers in their respective sector. The major reason of this monopoly is that there is high entry barrier in these sectors and it is hard to achieve economies of scale. The detailed discussion will be provided on various elements that leads to monopoly of these companies in Australian market.

Monopolies tend to have an edge and unfair advantage over different rival organizations mainly because of the fact that they emerge as the sole provider of specific products and services. However, in a monopolistic environment, an organization does not face any significant competition because it is the only producer and seller of the products with no close substitutes. In a monopolistic market space, a wide range of factors such as ownership of resources, government license, patient and copyright, and high starting cost tend to make a singular entity as the single seller of products and goods. Such factors much restrict other potential organizations from gaining entry into the market segment. Monopolistic organizations also possess important information that is not generally known to other organizations, which gives them a significant edge (Liu & Yang, 2007).

The competitive and monopolistic market tends to mark the extreme in terms of different attributes of market structure. There are a number of similarities between the two types of markets, such as – similar cost functions, minimization of costs and maximization of profits, the similarity between shutdown decisions, etc. To better understand the monopolistic market structure of Australia, the most potential distinction could be evaluated in the form of a demand curve. Different monopolistic organizations in Australia have a downward sloping demand curve in contrast to the perfectly elastic curve of a competitive market segment.

Firms in such a market have limited competition and can mark up their respective prices as per their preference. Primary responsibility for managing such aspects is possessed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. However, the firms have grown significantly large in size that it has lower costs per potential customer. Every additional customer would make the overall cost fall cheaper.

Monopolistic Market Structure in Australia :

In a monopolistic environment, there are a number of potential sources that allow various organizations to generate significant control over the entire market space. As per the monopolistic scenario of Australia, a considerable monopoly exists in the supermarket industry and banking sector. Woolworths, Coles, and Wesfarmers have obtained a significant fraction of the entire Australian supermarket sector. Such firms have grown considerably large in the context of their respective operations and overall network that they control a substantial market space. It has been analyzed that over 80% of the market segment is captured by dominant supermarkets – Woolworths, Coles, and Wesfarmers (Kollmorgen, 2016). The remaining fraction comprises of all other supermarket industry that operates in Australian domain.

The below-given graph provides an illustration of overall competition in different supermarkets around the world. With the help of this graph, four different supermarket brands – Coles, Woolworths, IGA, and Aldi – have over 90 percent of the entire market space. From the below-given graph, it has been analyzed that major supermarkets of Australia have significant control over a considerable fraction of the market segment. This type of analysis is the outcome of our assignment help experts; this article has been articulated keeping in mind the monopoly analysis in Australia, as it is a very controversial topic in Australia due to significant control of few companies in the sector or other. Read further to know more.

Monopolistic Market Structure in Australia

Further, in the banking sector, four significant organizations – NAB, ANZ, Commonwealth, and Westpac – have significant control over the entire banking and finance industry. Such banks exert a monopoly over other organizations primarily due to vastness of operations, high capitalization, a substantial amount of assets, and a secure operating network amongst Australia and other countries. Apart from Australia, some of the banks also have operations in other countries which provides them with an edge over other firms in the industry (ACARROLL, 2012). With the passage of time, these banks have grown humongous in size and engages millions of customers on a potentially massive scale. The below-given graph provides a percentage share of various banks in the banking and financial industry over a period of time.

Monopolistic Market Structure in Australia

Multiple sources have been identified that allow such organizations to obtain a monopoly over others. It is due to such causes that these organizations have been able to grow humongous in size and capture a significant fraction of their respective industries. Some of the most significant causes of power include –

  • Legal Barriers

  • Capital Requirements

  • No substitute good

  • Network Externalities

  • Deliberate Actions

  • Technological Superiority

  • Economies of Scale

  • Control over resource

Characteristics of Monopolies in Australia

There are multiple characteristics that are possessed by different organizations that operate in a monopolistic market structure. Some of the most recognizable attributes of different monopolies in Australia are –

  • In the context of Australian supermarkets, monopolies aim to maximize the overall level of profits through various prominent critical actions. As there is a significant lack of global competition, a particular firm can charge maximized prices in comparison to a competitive market. This aids in the maximization of total revenue, which is one of the most prominent characteristics of Australian monopolistic organizations.
  • Different monopolistic supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths are a price maker mainly because of the fact that it decides the price of various goods and products that are being sold. The overall cost is primarily determined by evaluating global demand. The prices are set so the firm can maximize total revenue to the maximum extent (NICKOLAS, 2019).
  • Further, in a monopolistic banking environment, there are significantly high barriers to entry. Competitors are not capable of entering the market segment, and monopolistic organizations can optimally prevent competition from penetrating and developing a foothold in the industry. Due to significantly high barriers, new entrants are not able to obtain an entry into the market, and monopolistic organizations continue to dominate the market space.
  • An Australian monopoly often tends to produce various goods and products at a lower cost in comparison to other smaller companies. Australian monopolies tend to possess the capability of buying huge quantities of inventory and use them for volumetric discounts. As an overall result, monopolistic organizations lower their prices so much that various small-scale companies fail to survive. In addition, monopolies can greatly engage in price wars mainly due to their scale of overall manufacturing and distribution networks, which allows them to mold prices of various products in a significant manner (NICKOLAS, 2019).

List of monopoly companies in Australia:

As discussed above, two different industrial domains, i.e., the banking sector and the supermarket sector, have a significant degree of monopoly in their respective domains. Some of the organizations have grown considerably large in economies of scale and scope that they tend to possess significant power and control over other minor organizations. However, unlike traditional monopolies, there are a number of organizations in the Australian market space that have emerged as monopolistic in their respective domains. This could be understood as a scenario of multi-monopoly where a number of organizations together control their respective market segment.

Supermarket Monopoly:

As discussed above, monopolies exist in two different segments, i.e., banking and supermarket sectors. In the supermarket domain, Woolworths, Coles, and Wesfarmers have emerged as significant leaders in the respective domain as they control a considerable fraction of the entire market space.

There have been a number of researches and surveys that have defined that these three firms control over 80% of the market segment. The rest of the fraction combines a large number of other firms that operate in a similar segment, such as IGA, The Distributors, ALDI, etc. The entire market concentration of Australian grocery stores is stuffed amongst three major organizations – Woolworths, Coles, and Wesfarmers. Frequently, all of these organizations are locked in price wars, but due to significantly high market share, none of them deals considerable damage. A detailed description of these organizations has been given below.

  • Woolworths is a significant leader brand in the supermarket and retail store industry as it has capture 1/3rd of the entire market space. Founded in 1924, the organization has come a long way through and formulates a duopoly with Coles supermarket by controlling almost 80% of the Australian market space. In the entire country, the organization has over 1000+ stores that serve a potentially large number of customers on a regular basis. In terms of the employee base, the organization has employed more than 100,000 employees amongst various stores. Considering the large scale of the organization, it has successfully initiated 981 supermarket stores along with 43 convenience stores in Australia. Above all, as of 2019, it generated a massive revenue of AUD 39.568 Billion. Such attributes can optimally define the overall extent of Woolworths to which it has emerged as a dominating organization in the supermarket industry (SBS News, 2013).
  • Coles Supermarket is a 105 years old supermarket chain in Australia that has penetrated into multiple market segments due to the high quality of products and services. As of 2019, Coles has 807 supermarkets across Australia and has a massive employee base of 112,298. It has obtained a duopoly in the Australian market space in coordination with Woolworths Supermarkets. Due to the vastness of various prominent services, the organization generated revenue of ~AUD 39 Billion in 2018. The organization also sells a wide range of products under a private label, which has gained a significant reputation mainly due to its high quality (SBS News, 2013).
  • Wesfarmers Limited also mainly operates in the retail sector but has a number of other prominent domains in chemical, fertilizers, coal mining, industrial, and safety products. Apart from Australia, the organization also serves a number of other countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and India. The organization employs more than ~200,00 employees across multiple locations in Australia. Due to penetration into a number of prominent sectors, Wesfarmers Limited has created a monopoly primarily due to extensive share in the entire market space.

Banking Sector Monopoly

In the Australian banking sector, four major organizations – NAB, Westpac, ANZ, and Commonwealth have considerably deep-rooted into the entire sector. With the passage of time, overall competition in the banking domain has been continuously incrementing, but these four firms have gained significant control over the market space. Due to significant coordination amongst these four banks, they generate millions of dollars in terms of mutual funds and assets annually. Each of the firms has a prominent aim of maximizing profits levels as in a monopolistic situation. For setting up an organization in the banking industry, a considerable amount of capital is required that makes it hard for new entrants to gain entry. In the current situation, customers tend to invest only in one of the four banks, which predominantly holds the lion's share in the market space. It could be understood that all four banks have obtained significant control of the entire sector, due to which they have emerged as monopolistic organizations. A concise description of each bank has been given below –

  • National Australia Bank (NAB) has emerged as a significant brand and obtained a reputable position amongst four prominent financial institutions in the Australian domain. In terms of capitalization, the bank has been ranked 21st, and in terms of total assets, it has been ranked 50th in the entire world. With a humongous customer base of 12.7 million, the organization has 1,590 branches across Australia. Such statistics define the vastness of NAB in the Australian banking sector (Avkiran, 2018).
  • Westpac is a prominent Australian financial provider and bank which is headquartered in Sydney. The organization is over 200 years old and serves in a worldwide domain apart from Australia. It has a total of 1,205 branches across the Australian region and employs over 35000 employees amongst different branches. It has been recognized as the most sustainable bank as it has been able to serve over 14 million customers.
  • Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank is a multinational organization operating in the banking and financial industry. In the Australian domain, the bank has obtained the second position in terms of assets, and in terms of capitalization, it has emerged as the third-largest bank. Amongst four other banks, it has also obtained a considerable monopolistic position in the industry.
  • Commonwealth Bank is a multinational organization that operates across New Zealand and Australia along with other prominent countries. This bank is mainly dominant because of a wide category of services such as funds management, business banking, institutional banking, insurance, investment, etc. The organization has over 50,000 employees and a strong network with more than 1,100 branches in Australia. Due to the vastness of operations and network, the organization has emerged as the largest bank in the entire Southern Hemisphere (Avkiran, 2018).

It could be understood that the above-mentioned organization has a considerably large network in the entire Australian market space. Such organizations have been operating in the country for an extended period of time and have penetrated deep into the market segment. Due to such aspects, these organizations tend to control a significant fraction of the entire market by defining various policies, procedures, and standards which are followed by other minor organizations. Such parameters define that these organizations have emerged as monopolistic in nature as they control the working of the entire market by defining various standards. A great degree of control over the market segment has allowed these organizations to be monopolistic in nature.

Further readings

Article By:

David Richard

Having a masters degree in Technology Management from the University of Illinois, David Richard works as a Management faculty in the University of Toronto. Being a technology freak, he does not like to be shacked, so he keeps on experimenting new ideol

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  • ACARROLL. (2012). A new study claims the nation's big banks' acting as a monopoly'. Retrieved 28 December 2019
  • Avkiran, N. (2018). Systemic Risk and Productivity of the Major Australian Banks. Theoretical Economics Letters, 08(11), 2157-2168. DOI: 10.4236/tel.2018.811141
  • Casson, M. (2016). Introduction to Monopoly. The Theory Of International Business, 41-52. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-32297-1_3
  • Kollmorgen, A. (2016). Market monopolies in Australia - CHOICE. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from
  • Liu, W., & Yang, X. (2007). EFFECTS OF POLITICAL MONOPOLY ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Pacific Economic Review, 12(1), 69-78. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0106.2007.00341.x
  • NICKOLAS, S. (2019). What Are the Characteristics of a Monopolistic Market?. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from
  • SBS News. (2013). Coles, Woolies warned on monopoly. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from


Are there any monopolies in Australia?

Yes, there are monopolies in Australia. This varies as per the industry of work. Some sectors, like supermarkets, are not natural monopolies but have significant economies of scale. Further, one of the most monopolistic businesses in Australia is of Airports. In many ways, airports automatically fall into the category of natural monopolies.

Are monopolies illegal in Australia?

There is no particular law governing this issue. However, there are certain laws which prevent the misuse of monopolies. These fall under section 46 of the Trade Practises Act. Though this comes out to be an entirely different issue, the crux withstands the fact that there is no law against monopolies in Australia.

Is Woolworths a monopoly?

Woolworth as a company falls into the duopoly market structure. It is because of Woolworths and Coles being the two key players in the supermarket industry in Australia, that it is taken as monopolistic competition.

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