Convenience store retail sales have performed well in the past five years in comparison to supermarkets and hypermarkets. The market experienced a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 percent from 2011 to 2016, and is expected to increase nine percent during the forecast period.
Over half (53 percent) of convenience store consumers in the nation cite product quality as a key factor in influencing their decision when choosing which convenience store to shop at, followed by proximity (52 percent), and range of products available (31 percent). In addition, one in four (25 percent) indicate that the range of in-store services available is an important decision influencer, while 24 percent respectively say the same of a convenience store’s payment options, and speed of customer service. All these factors come ahead of appealing promotions (20 percent) or loyalty schemes (12 percent).
“While recent growth in the convenience store market has been strong, convenience store chains must start to innovate as today’s consumers are seeking wider product and service ranges, said Matthew Crabbe, director of research, Asia Pacific, Mintel. “They also want more localised and individualised service, and for store chains to respond quickly to their changing needs.”
Salty snacks, bakery products and confectionery items have seen the biggest growth in convenience store purchase. Today, 70 percent of convenience store consumers say they buy salty snacks from these stores, up from 58 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, 63 percent purchase bakery products and 62 percent say they buy confectionery in convenience stores.
While these products have seen a rise in purchase among convenience store users in the past two years, currently the most commonly bought items are dairy products (75 percent), soft drinks (72 percent) and salty snacks (70 percent).
The study also revealed that almost half (49 percent) of urban Chinese consumers prefer being able to visit a convenience store any time—day or night, while 64 percent are drawn more by the budget-priced, basic products available at convenience stores. A significant 59 percent would also be prepared to try using automated check-outs if available in-store.
“Stores should raise their ‘convenience factor’ in the future, both to improve consumer enjoyment, and to counter—or integrate—the rising demand among consumers for online shopping and delivery services. In addition, given the growth in developments in cashless and checkout-free stores, this could be an increasingly significant service trend for convenience stores to introduce,” Mr Crabbe concluded.