Convenience stores

Convenience stores are ahead of supermarkets in market share

The combined market share of Korean convenience stores has overtaken that of local supermarkets for the first time, amid a rapidly growing trend to shop in less crowded places due to the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Wednesday. .

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, sales at three convenience stores – GS25, CU and 7-Eleven – rose to 30.7% last year. , after three department stores – Lotte, Shinsegae and Hyundai. The figure surpassed that of the country’s largest supermarkets, E-mart, Lotte Mart and Home Plus, by 0.3 percentage points for the first time.

Compared to 2020, convenience store sales jumped 6.8% last year, while large supermarkets saw sales decline 2.3%.

The data showed that convenience stores saw increased sales in ready meals and instant foods. By contrast, sales at large supermarkets fell across most product categories, including home appliances and food.

Until 2019, large supermarkets captured the lion’s share of the market, followed by department stores and convenience stores, the ministry said.

But with COVID-19, many customers have turned away from crowded supermarkets where the risk of contracting the virus is higher, an industry source said. Instead, they started using nearby less busy convenience stores, buying in small quantities, he added.

Lee Su-bin, a 32-year-old from Seoul, says she has mostly shopped for groceries and other goods online or at convenience stores since the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Unlike before, when there were only limited items such as ramen and snacks, I can buy all kinds of meal kits, sauces, seasonings and necessities at convenience stores. So I don’t feel really need to go to the big supermarkets,” added Lee.

Meanwhile, retail giant Lotte Group recently announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Ministop, taking control of some 2,600 branches. Considering the latest transaction, market insiders believe that the market share of convenience stores will rise sharply in the coming years.

By Byun Hye-jin ([email protected])