Taiwan convenience store density tops world; sales may grow in 2016
Taipei, July 2 (CNA) The density of convenience stores in Taiwan hit the highest level in the world ahead of Japan, while sales in the local convenience store sector are expected to continue to grow to top NT$300 billion (US$9.32 billion) in 2016, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
The data released by the MOEA said that as of the end of May, Taiwan's major convenience store chains owned a total of 10,199 outlets, which translated into a density of one convenience store for every 2,304 local residents.
The four major convenience store chains in Taiwan are 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, OK Mart, and Hi-Life.
In comparison, Japan had a total of 54,839 convenience stores with a density of one convenience store for every 2,317 Japanese residents as of the end of March, the MOEA data showed.
With access to convenience stores becoming easier in Taiwan, the MOEA said, sales at local convenience marts are expected to surpass the NT$300 billion mark, up from NT$295 billion recorded in 2015. The expected 2016 figure will mark a record high in the local convenience store industry's history, the MOEA said.
In the first five months of this year, revenue generated by the local convenience store industry rose 5.2 percent from a year earlier to NT$125.9 billion since convenience stores here have broadened their product and service portfolios by serving fresh coffee and selling concert tickets and train tickets.
Although the number of convenience stores in Taiwan has been on the rise, the pace of the increase has showed signs of moderating, the MOEA said.
The MOEA said that in 2015, the number of convenience stores in the country rose by 56, the slowest increase in six years. In the first five months of this year, only 12 have opened since the end of 2015, more evidence of moderating growth in number of stores, the MOEA added.
The ministry said the slower pace of expansion by local convenience store chains reflected the saturated local market with a high density and escalating competition in the industry. The ministry added that the high growth in new outlets is a thing of the past.
While local convenience store chains have scaled down their plans to add new outlets, they have shifted their attention to emerging businesses, such as mobile shopping and e-commerce, to post more sales, the MOEA said. The ministry added that local convenience stores have been keen to cooperate with other industries to provide a comprehensive product mix in a bid to win a higher share in the market.
With their efforts, the MOEA said, the convenience store chains in Taiwan are expected to achieve the target of raking in more than NT$300 billion in sales this year.
Meanwhile, food items accounted for 59.4 percent of local convenience stores' total revenue in 2014, while food products made up 65.5 percent of sales generated by Japan's convenience store chains, according to the MOEA's data.
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