Coles vs Woolworths: Which supermarket comes out on top?

We've compared the two chains from every angle to help inform your shopping choice.

Last updated:

The Australian supermarket scene is dominated by two giants: Coles and Woolworths. Together, they account for 61% of local grocery sales, according to Roy Morgan.

But how do they stack up head-to-head? Here are the key details:


Coles vs Woolworths prices: Which one is cheaper?

As aggressive competitors, Coles and Woolworths very rarely have different pricing for the same items. That's true of both their store-branded products and for mainstream brands. Ongoing analysis of their specials by Finder also suggests these are often seen in both supermarkets. If Twinings tea is on sale at Coles one week, you can expect that special to be replicated at Woolworths in the near future. The same applies across dozens of categories.

If you're looking to save money, taking advantage of specials is the key, but you can do that in both supermarket chains.

The winner: This one's a dead heat.


Coles vs Woolworths in-store and online

The same also applies to shopping online. In the past, both chains have charged different prices for online shoppers to what you'd pay in-store, but as of 2019 pricing is consistent between online stores and what you'll pay in your local branch. There is some variation in pricing between states.

The winner: Again, we'll have to call this one a draw.


Coles vs Woolworths delivery

How can you get free delivery?

Free delivery makes grocery shopping online much more tempting. Both Woolworths and Coles offer free delivery options, but the details differ. Keep an eye out for coupons that can reduce regular delivery prices or offer money off for your first order.

Woolworths
Your first Woolworths delivery will be free provided you spend more than $100 (not including cigarettes and alcohol). Delivery of subsequent orders is free if you spend more than $300. Woolworths previously offered a "Delivery Saver" subscription service for free deliveries, but as of 2019 that's not being made available to new customers.
Coles
Coles also offers free delivery for your first shop provided you spend at least $100 (again, cigarettes and alcohol don't count towards the total). Its "Flexi-Free Delivery" offers free delivery on all subsequent shops of $150 or more. To qualify for Flexi-Free Delivery, you'll need to select an eight-hour delivery window. That means it's not as precise as a paid delivery, but Coles will send you an email with an updated one-hour arrival window prior to delivery. If you sign up for flybuys Max, you'll get free delivery if you spend $50 or more.

The winner: Coles, for providing free delivery options that go beyond your first order.

Who charges more for home delivery?

Assuming you don't qualify for free delivery, how much will you pay?

Woolworths
Woolworths charges based on the amount of your order, with lower fees as the value of your shop goes up. For orders under $100, you'll pay $15, while orders of $250 to $300 get charged just $3.
Coles
Coles charges based on your location, the time of day you select for your delivery and the length of the delivery window. For metro deliveries, costs typically range from $4 to $20.

When will I get my delivery?

Woolworths
Woolworths offers next-day delivery provided you place your order before 6pm. In Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane you can pay extra for same-day delivery.
Coles
Coles offers next-day delivery (cut-off timing varies depending on your location and the delivery timeslot you want). Same-day delivery is available between 4pm and 6pm, provided you place your order by 1pm.

The winner: Coles has the edge here, as the charges for a sub-$100 order will generally be lower and its delivery options are more flexible.


Coles vs Woolworths loyalty schemes

Both supermarket chains have their own loyalty schemes: Woolworths Rewards for Woolworths and flybuys for Coles. These each operate in a very similar fashion: they're free to join, you earn points from all your shopping at the supermarket and other associated stores, and once you accumulate 2,000 points, you can get a $10 off voucher for your next shop.

Alternatively, you can convert your points into frequent flyer points. Coles lets you convert flybuys to Virgin Velocity, while Woolworths Rewards convert to Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Where flybuys gains an edge is being able to spend your points on gift cards or a range of other products through the flybuys catalogue, which is an option that isn't available with Woolworths Rewards.

The winner: The greater flexibility of flybuys makes Coles the winner here.


Coles vs Woolworths credit cards

Both supermarket giants offer a range credit cards that can help you earn more reward points. Our credit card experts have put together a comprehensive comparison of the cards available from each chain.

The winner: Your choice of credit card will depend on a range of features, including interest rate, annual fee and rewards options. As such, there's no clear-cut winner to be declared.


Coles vs Woolworths deals

Coles Supermarket Coles Supermarket

$10 off your first Click&Collect grocery order

Get $10 off your first Click&Collect order over $100 by using our code at Coles Online. New customers only.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Coles Supermarket Coles Supermarket

$10 off your second order when you spend over $150

Enjoy $10 off your second order when you spend over $150 at Coles Supermarket. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Coles Supermarket Coles Supermarket

Free delivery on your first order

Spend $100 or more on your first online shop at Coles and get your order delivered for free.

Last verified

Popular Coles Supermarket coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
16 Oct 2019 $10 off your first Click&Collect grocery order cli****
11 Jul 2019 $10 off your second order when you spend over $150 NEX****
7 Dec 2015 Free delivery on your first order ********
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14 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MotanaAugust 14, 2018

    Why doesn’t liquid glue stick to the bottle?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelAugust 14, 2018

      Hi Motana,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      The regular white glue most people know so is made up of chemicals called polymers. These polymers are long strands that are either sticky or stretchy. Glue manufacturers have to find just the right combination of sticky and stretchy polymers to make this glue. When glue is inside a bottle, there’s not enough air inside the bottle to cause the water to evaporate to make the glue sticky. What happens is the bottle protects the glue from the air and keeps the glue runny. If you’ve ever left the top off a glue bottle for a couple minutes, you may have noticed that, unfortunately, the glue dries up. To conclude, it’s Science. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    NRMarch 27, 2018

    It also depends on the suburb. I can shop at 2 different Woolworths (or 2 different Coles), exact same products, and one store will be cheaper. Low socioeconomic areas are generally cheaper.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 27, 2018Staff

      Hi NR,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.
      We appreciate your feedback regarding your experience with different Woolworths. Keep sharing your experiences with us to share them with the other consumers.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    JoJuly 13, 2016

    In my area woollies is definitely cheaper than Coles on most items. I just wish they has a international section like Coles does. In that respect it seems that Coles are more in tune with the community that they service.

  4. Default Gravatar
    DiMay 12, 2016

    Is it just me or has the quality of the meat & fresh produce at Woollies deteriorated over these last few months?
    I have bought the MSA steaks in past & it was delicious, now it is tough & flavourless. The fruit & veg has been particularly bad for a long time.
    I really begrudge buying food only to chuck it out.

  5. Default Gravatar
    ReganMarch 1, 2016

    I’m an avid Coles shopper – I prefer their selection and even though maybe 3-4 sale items may be cheaper at woolies, the majority of what I purchase is much cheaper at Coles. Frozen food Mccain Tuna Mornay is still over $6 at woollies (sometimes on sale) but the normal price is $4.50 at Coles. I’ve also had a couple very very bad experiences with woollies online, having all my necessities not in stock and also still charging me and not telling me they didn’t send them – I had to call to say they didn’t send them but still charged me and they refused to send the items leaving me without milk for my son.
    BUT… Their sales technique of doing the dominos and now the Disney cards finds me happily sometimes paying more and swallowing my pride to shop there to get these free rewards and Coles has nothing of the sort.
    I know I’ve fallen for a technique that was implemented exactly to make me shop there, but it works! My son is obsessed! And so is most of my work colleagues even!
    Coles should really come up with some sort of inventive to shop there to compete… My local shops has both grocery stores, and while this promotion is on for a couple months I swap to woollies.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyMarch 2, 2016Staff

      Hi Regan,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Have you considered signing up to the Coles flybuys program?

      This could help you earn rewards as you’re spending at the supermarket.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  6. Default Gravatar
    TutuNovember 9, 2015

    Woolworths is actually cheaper than Coles on most items from my experience whether purchasing in-store or online. I find that woolies stocks a wider variety of items and brands of products than Coles. It is way easy navigating their alleys compared to Coles. I also like the arrangement of their fresh food section, their fruits and vegetables are usually fresh which I like. The only problem I have with woolies now is that you can buy groceries whether 1 or 1,000, without earning ‘any’ reward at all,(Woolworths dollars), if your shopping does not include any orange sticker item(s).
    At the moment, you can still earn qantas points on all products but that’s ending in December.
    Soon u won’t be earning anything for shopping that does not include orange sticker items. No matter how much you spend.
    This is not a fair way to reward loyal customers (like me). At least with Coles (though more expensive on most items) ‘every’ item you purchase gets you a reward in form of flyby points,which you can redeem.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AlexNovember 9, 2015Staff

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comments. We’ll take a look into the updates that Woolworths has been making and update this page accordingly.

      Thanks again,
      Alex

  7. Default Gravatar
    LeonardoSeptember 23, 2015

    I liked your article.
    I’ve lived in Australia for 4 years, and returned to my country in 2012.
    For me, there were both good.
    Somehow I’ve always had the impression that coles was cheaper, but nothing really significantly.

  8. Default Gravatar
    RayonApril 29, 2015

    I find this very hard to believe. The prices are not really comparable unless you go to a shopping centre with both supermarkets as they are directly competing.
    It also depends if you prefer to buy generic branded products, as Woolworths Homebrand and Select are cheaper than Coles Smart Buy and Coles brand, and also cheaper than Aldi.
    And in cases like the vegemite where you are comparing smaller sizes, you should have looked at the largest jars in each store to ascertain the value, as it is widely known that if a product is smaller the value is not the same.
    I have never had any experience of Coles being cheaper, Woolworths has over 200 more stores than Coles, and hence has greater purchasing power.

  9. Default Gravatar
    confusedApril 6, 2015

    How do you come up with Woolworths as being the better choice in terms of animal welfare?
    According to the RSPCA website, Coles has animal welfare approved eggs, pork and chicken (I didn’t look up the turkey) products. Woolworths only has some chicken products.
    Who cares what they’re planning in 3 years?

  10. Default Gravatar
    DerhamMarch 21, 2015

    I have just done my woolworths online shopping from Sydney to Melbourne I am 5 minutes away from bayside Coles but your trading hours 10 pm I always miss the store if you were open 24/7 I could come I’m and bye but I can’t home delivery Coles or woolworths
    I just want my weekly food I’m single fresh fruit meat and dairy, chocolates, ice cream and toiletries it pretty simple my debit card.

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