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The consumer

Consumer Profile
Morocco has a young population (median age of 29.1 years in 2020) and large households (4.6 people on average). 27% of the population is below 15 years old, 16.5% are between 15-24, 40.6% between 25 and 54, 8.6% are between 55-64 years and 7.1% are 65 or older. However, the population growth rates stands at only 0.96%.
In recent decades the urban population has increased substantially, reaching 63.5% of the total in 2020, with an annual urbanization rate estimated at 2.14% between 2015-2020. The territorial distribution of urbanization is particularly unequal, with one in three residents in two regions, Greater Casablanca and Rabat Salé Zemour Saer. Literacy among men aged 15 or more reached 83.3%, while that of their female counterparts is much lower, at 64.6% (CIA estimates). School is compulsory from 6 to 14 year olds and the number of out-of-school children has dropped sharply in recent years.
Most of the population is active in the services sector (44%), although the agricultural sector also has an important share - at 34% - followed by the industrial sector (22% - World Bank, 2020).
Purchasing Power
Morocco’s GDP per capita (PPP) was estimated at only USD 7,826 in 2019 by the World Bank. According to the latest figures released by the National Security Fund (CNSS), the average salary of Moroccans in 2018 stood at MAD 5,188. Divided by sectors, the average wages vary: civil servants average monthly wages sat at MAD 7,549. The highest paid workers were employed in the financial and insurance sectors (MAD 14,749), followed by the IT and communications sector (MAD 10,953). The lowest paid workers were employed in the agriculture (MAD 3,028 per month) and hospitality (MAD 3,963) sectors. The median salary stood at MAD 2,723.
It is estimated that  ¾ of the total mass of consumption expenditure is made by the wealthiest half of the population, and five out of twelve regions contribute to 74% of total consumption, i.e. Casablanca Settat, Rabat Salé Kenitra, Tangier Tetouan Al Hoceima, Fes Meknes and Marrakech Safi. The level of inequality in the distribution of wealth is indeed quite high in Morocco, with the highest Gini Index coefficient in North Africa according to a study by the OECD. This disparity is particularly significant at the gender level, the country ranking 143rd out of 153 in the latest report of the World Economic Forum on gender parity. Moroccan women earn about 17% less than men according to a study conducted by the Moroccan Directorate of Financial Studies and Forecasting (DEPF).
Consumer Behaviour
For purchases the Moroccan consumer favours neighbourhood establishments where there is a relationship of trust built on contact with the seller. Some 55% of women are responsible for household purchases, 47% of whom seek information before buying and 54% choose brands over the price, according to an Ipsos study. In general, Moroccan consumers prefer to turn to local brands and products. But they are increasingly numerous, especially young people, in turning to foreign brands belonging to large multinationals. In addition, Moroccans are not particularly loyal to brands and this trend is continuing. Non-monetary offers such as loyalty programs providing priority services and product customisation are particularly popular, especially with millennials. Thus, only 55% of women surveyed responsible for household purchases say they are loyal to brands and 53% say they are on the lookout for the best offers and promotions.
E-commerce is still underdeveloped in Morocco: while internet penetration has grown considerably over the past few years, now reaching approximately 70% of the total population, only 7% of internet users currently shop online. Only 4% of women responsible for household purchases say they have already done their shopping online and 20% say they look for information on the internet (they are 80% to rely on conventional media). Only a minority of Moroccan consumers use social networks, and among them, many do not want to have contact with a brand through this medium. However, the participation rate of Moroccan communities on brand fan pages is increasing. Thus, consumers who have chosen to follow one or more brands on social networks are investing more and more in their relationship with them, which tends to influence their purchasing decisions. Child-related spending is a top priority for 90% of parents, compared to 76% for travel, 75% for adult clothing and 59% leisure time, according to the Wafasalaf Observatory. Child participation in purchase decisions for food products is 71% and clothes 60% with 50% of kids valuing different brands of clothing.
In recent years we have seen a change in the eating habits of Moroccan consumers who are increasingly turning to healthy and organic products. This turning point concerns mainly young people and pregnant women. The country's major cities have seen many specialty stores flourish and some retailers have even expanded their networks from a dozen to some 700 outlets in 2-3 years.
Consumer Recourse to Credit

The use of household credit has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to the latest report by Bank Al Maghrib (Morocco’s central bank), household debt increased by 5.1% y-o-y in 2019, reaching MAD 358.6 billion. Of the total debt, around 63% is composed of home loans (+3.8% y-o-y), while 37% (+1% y-o-y) is destined to consumer credit.
Concerning home loans, the average credit in 2019 stood at around MAD 391,000, with 58% of the loans having a repayment term of 20 years or more. The beneficiaries of this type of credit were over 40 years in more than 60% of cases.
When it comes to consumer credit, more than over 75% of loans have a duration of more than 5 years. Bank Al Maghrib estimates the average amount at MAD 54,000 in 2019.  Over one-third (36%) of consumers recurring to credit had a monthly income below MAD 4,000, whereas 41% had monthly revenues above MAD 6,000. Out of all the people that recurred to consumer credit, 49% were employees, 34% civil servants, 7% retirees, 5% artisans and tradesmen and 5% freelancers.
In 2019, the risk credit for home loans reached 6.8%, from 6.5% one year before; and the consumer credit risk also increased from 10.3% to 10.7%.

Growing Sectors
Infrastructure, agriculture, agribusiness, construction, as well as sports and tourism represent promising sectors according to the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Morocco. Added to this is the still-young ICT sector, which represents one of the strategic axes of development put forward by the National Pact for Industrial Emergence.
Consumers Associations
Consumer Portal of Morroco
 

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Importing & Distributing

Import Procedures
For free imports, the importer must sign a commitment for imports on form "Commitment for Import, Import license, Preliminary Import Declaration" (in French).
The Commitment to Import must be drawn up in 5 specimens and accompanied by a Pro-forma invoice in 5 copies specifying:

  • the unit price expressed in ex-works value, FOB, FAS;
  • quantity expressed in units of appropriate measures;
  • trade description of the goods.

The Commitment to Import must be filed with an authorised bank chosen by the importer for domiciliation. After domiciliation, the bank gives the importer their own copy along with two extra copies, in a sealed envelop for the customs office. The Commitment to Import is valid for 6 months as from the date of its domiciliation and facilitates customs clearance and the financial settlement of the goods.

An application for exemption from customs duties is necessary for free imports allowed as duty-free within the framework of the tariff and commercial Agreements and Accords concluded between Morocco and certain countries, products belonging to tariff quotas set forth by the Association and Free trade Agreements concluded between Morocco and the European Community and Morocco and the States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and products belonging to tariff quotas envisaged by the Multilateral Agreements.

Application for exemption from customs duties is to be made in 4 copies on a form called "Customs Exemption Application" and accompanied by a pro forma invoice in 3 copies, specifying:

  • the unit price expressed in ex-works value, FOB, FAS;
  • quantity expressed in units of appropriate measures;
  • trade description of the goods.

Application for exemption from customs duties is lodged with the Ministry of Foreign Trade; it is delivered by this department after consultation with the ministry concerned. The decision to grant or refuse exemption from customs duties is notified to the concerned party by the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Exemption from customs duties is valid for a maximum of 6 months as from the date of the stamp of the Ministry for Foreign Trade.

Import of goods is further subject to the invoice, the import title and, if necessary other documents required according to the nature of the products, on presentation at the customs office within 60 days as from the deposit of the summary declaration, a detailed declaration on a form called "Single Declaration of Goods" (DUM).

In the case of imports, you can make an advance payment up to 40% of the transaction. The advance payment is authorized for certain products to the limit of the value of DH 200,000 (see Circular 1718 of 1st August, 2007). For more information on the framework of the exchange transactions regulation, please consult the website of the Moroccan Foreign Exchange Office (in French only).

For more information on customs clearance procedure, please visit the website of Moroccan Customs.

Specific Import Procedures
For goods subject to import license, the importer must submit the license application form in 6 copies, against receipt, with the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy. The license is issued delivered by the ministry, after consultation with other concerned ministries. The import license is valid for 6 months to the maximum.
Certain goods are also subject to a preliminary import declaration: those that are likely to cause a serious damage to local production. These include cases of massive imports, imports of products subsidised in the exporting country or products imported at dumped prices. The importer must submit 6 copies of the preliminary import declaration application with the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy. The Ministry of Foreign Trade assesses the application within 10 days. The preliminary import declaration is valid for a period of 9 months and renewable once.
For a list of the goods for which an import license is required, click here.
Distribution channels
The food retail sector has been growing in recent years, and in 2018 it represented 13% of the country’s GDP (USDA, latest data available). Although traditional channels still account for 80% of grocery retailing, large-scale distribution is expected to account for about 30% of national consumption by 2025 (Ministry of Industry estimates).  Several factors are influencing the changing retail sector in Morocco: a high rate of population growth and rapid urbanisation, combined with the rise of disposable income.

The retail distribution of food in Morocco varies across income levels. Superstores generally cater to more affluent consumers. Traditional neighbourhood stores cater to the lower income population who tend to buy fewer items on a frequent basis. Weekly rural farmers' markets cater to rural populations. Higher income earners tend to buy more processed and packaged foods on a frequent basis (especially in high-income areas like Casablanca, Rabat, Tangiers, and Marrakech). Large supermarkets are currently in all major Moroccan cities (including Agadir, Tangiers, Fes, Meknes, Tetouan, and Mohamedia) and are increasingly being opened in even middle size cities (such as Beni Mellal, Khouribga and Oujda) as well as in lower-income areas of major cities, thus providing alternatives to traditional buying habits.  Moroccans are gradually shifting towards modern retail channels and embracing technology, with independent small grocers growing at a slow rate compared to their previous performance.
Marjane Holding and Label’Vie (Carrefour, Carrefour Market, and Atacadao) are Morocco’s leading modern food retailers with other notables including Ynna (Aswak Salam) and BIM. About half of supermarkets’ sales take place in Casablanca and Rabat.

Internet retailing packaged food sales are expected to continue increasing, as consumers are always looking for more convenience. The demand for convenience, health and wellness, will be among the main consumer trends that are likely to impact retailing in the years to come in groceries.

Distribution market players
According to the latest figures from USDA, Marjane remained the leading supermarket in Morocco in value terms in 2019. In general, the main brands are:

- Marjane: with 38 outlets and an estimated market share of 56% in 2018
- Label’Vie group: owns the brands Atacadao (11 outlets) and Carrefour (8 outlets), with a combined market share of around 20% (including Carrefour Market). The group intends to continue its development program with the opening this year of 16 new points of sale
- BIM, a discount store with a wide presence in the country, was estimated to account for 11% of total modern retail sales
- Aswak Assalam: with 13 outlets and a market share of about 8%
- Acima: with 42 outlets and a market share of nearly 6%

Furthermore, the French retailer group Système U entered the Moroccan landscape in 2019, opening its first supermarket in Rabat.
Concerning traditional grocery stores, government figures estimate their number at around 45,000. They are generally managed by one person and have a limited size.
Retail Sector Organisations
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Trade and Services Federation

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Operating a Business

Type of companies

Société à Responsabilité Limitée S.A.R.L. (private limited company)
Number of partners: 1 minimum and 50 maximum
Capital (max/min): MAD 10,000
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of contributions.
Société anonyme, S.A. (public limited company)
Number of partners: 5 minimum with no maximum
Capital (max/min): MAD 3,000,000 to open a listed public limited companies and MAD 300,000 for a Public Liability company.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of contributions.
Société en nom collectif, SNC (Partnership)
Number of partners: 2 partners at the minimum
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is unlimited.
Société en Commandite Simple, SCS (Limited Partnership)
Number of partners: 2 partners at the minimum
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Liability of the active partners is unlimited and limited to the amount of contributions for the silent partners.
Société en Commandite par Actions, SCA (Partnership limited by shares)
Number of partners: 3 sleeping partners and one active partner.
Capital (max/min): no minimum capital.
Shareholders and liability: Liability of the active partners is unlimited and limited to the amount of contributions for the silent partners.
 
Setting Up a Company Morocco Middle East & North Africa
Procedures (number) 4.0 6.3
Time (days) 9.0 19.5

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

 

Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
Morocco's minimum wage is MAD 3,000 per month in the public sector, MAD 2,570.86 per month in the private sector, MAD 69,73 MAD per day for agricultural workers, according to the Moroccan government data.
Average Wage
According to the latest figures released by the National Security Fund (CNSS), the average salary of Moroccans in 2018 stood at MAD 5,188.
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers: Family allocation: 6.40%
Social allocation: 8.60% (with a computation base capped at MAD 6,000)
Professional tax: 1.60%
Mandatory medical care: 4.11%.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees:
  • Old age (3.69%),
  • Sickness (0.33%),
  • Healthcare (2.26%),
  • Unemployment (0.19%),

totalling 6.74% of gross earnings.

 

Intellectual Property

National Organisations
L'OMPIC (Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property) handles the registration of industrial patents, drawings and models and brands in Morocco. Consult also the Copyright Office of Morocco.
Regional Organisations
Nil
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
 

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
VAT - Value-Added Tax (Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée - TVA)
Tax Rate
20%
Reduced Tax Rate
A reduced rate of 10% applies to petroleum products; banking transactions; hotel operations; restaurant operations; sales and delivery operations relating to art objects; edible fluid oils; solar water heaters.

VAT rate for transport, electricity and solar energy is 14% (same as for butter).

A reduced rate of 7% applies to water; rental of water and electricity meters; pharmaceutical products and non-recoverable packaging of pharmaceutical products.

Zero-rated items include exported goods and services; goods placed under customs suspensive regime; fertilizers; machinery for exclusively agricultural use; investment goods recorded as fixed assets, acquired by taxpayers, for a period of 36 months as from the start of the activity, excluding vehicles acquired by car rental agencies.

Other Consumption Taxes
Excise duties are levied on several products, including alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, tobacco, sugar, oil products, lubricants, etc. Plane tickets for international flights departing from Moroccan airports are taxed at MAD 100 for Economy class and MAD 400 for Business and First class.
 

Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
10%
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Moroccan residency status applies if a company is incorporated in Morocco or its place of effective management is in Morocco.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are treated as non-current income and taxed at the normal corporate tax rate.
Non-resident companies are exempt from capital gains derived from the sale of stocks listed on the Casablanca stock exchange, excluding the shares of real estate entities.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Expenses incurred in connection with business activities are generally deductible unless specifically excluded. Start-up expenses shall be capitalised and depreciated for tax purposes over a five-year period. Interest on loans granted by direct shareholders is deductible if the capital is fully paid in, limited to the share capital equity and the interest rate provided annually by the Ministry of Finance.

Charitable contributions made by companies are deductible only if they are granted to foundations and societies explicitly provided by law. In the case of contributions made to the community enterprise, the deduction is capped at 0.2% of the turnover.

Tax losses may be carried forward for a period of four years from the end of the loss-making accounting period. However, the portion of a loss that relates to depreciation may be carried forward indefinitely. The carryback of losses is not permitted. Foreign tax relief is provided for foreign-sourced income. Bad debts that are definitively non-recoverable are treated as deductible losses. Taxes are generally deductible (except for corporate income tax).

Morocco offers tax incentives in the form of tax exemption or taxation at more advantageous rates for local and foreign investors. Check the Corporate income tax section for further details.
Other Corporate Taxes
Registration duties are due on all written or verbal conventions, such as property transfer of real estate, shares, or rights; company set up; equity increase; and goodwill transfer. The rates of registration duties range from 1% to 6%. A flat rate of MAD 200 is also applicable to specific operations and conventions.The acquisition of real property is subject to a 1% real estate tax.

A municipal tax is levied at a rate of 10.5% of the rental value of properties located in urban areas and 6.5% for properties located on the outskirts of cities.

The business tax ("taxe professionnelle") consists of a tax on the rental value of business premises (rented or owned) and fixed assets. The tax rates range from 10% to 30%, with an exemption for the five first years of activity. The rental value is exempted for the portion of the cost exceeding MAD 50 million.

A Payroll tax (called professional training tax) is imposed on the gross monthly remuneration of employees that are subject to social security contributions, at a rate of 1.6%. Morocco's mandatory social security regime is managed by the CNSS (Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale). Employers' contributions are as follows: family allocation 6.40%; social allocation 8.60% (with a computation base capped at MAD 6,000); professional tax 1.60%; mandatory medical care 4.11%.

Other Domestic Resources
General Tax Administration
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Double Taxation Treaties

Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0 (resident company)/15% (non-resident company or individual); Interest: 20% (resident company)/30% (resident individual)/10% (non-resident - a loan granted for 10 years or more is exempt from withholding tax); Royalties: 0% (resident company or individual) 10% (non-resident company or individual).
The rates may vary according to specific tax treaties.

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