China’s C-Store Industry Is Booming

Consumers seek convenience, speed and experience.

October 21, 2019

HONG KONG—China’s convenience store market is booming, Inside Retail Hong Kong reports, as research from Mintel shows that Chinese c-store sales reached $19.78 billion in 2018, showing a 24% compound annual growth rate over the past five years.

“The convenience store sector has experienced double-digit growth, even at this challenging time for brick-and-mortar retail in China,” said Chih-yuan Wang, category research director, retail of Mintel Reports in China. “This is due, in part, to consumers’ continuous pursuit of time efficiency, availability and instant fulfillment.”

The Mintel report found that 61% of urban Chinese customers shop at c-stores several times a week, while more than 50% like to window shop and eat inside c-stores.

Wang says that if c-stores want to meet today’s consumer demand, they must strengthen social functionality and add variety to the types of shopping experiences they offer. This could look like a launch of a themed store or offering exclusive products through partnerships with new brands.

More than half of Chinese respondents reported that they like to try new products in c-stores, while more young and female consumers are more open to themed stores that are decorated. As such, it’s  something for c-store owners to keep in mind with the holidays coming up, carrying the potential for increased sales and consumer visits.