Korean Consumers Splurge on Decadent C-Store Desserts

Sales of high-end sweets are soaring as South Korean convenience retailers stock more premium desserts.

May 14, 2021

Chocolate Cakes

SEOUL—South Korean convenience stores are finding success with premium desserts, the Korea Joongang Daily reports. Sales of the higher-end sweets are skyrocketing as young South Koreans snap up the decadent offerings, both for Instagram-able photos and for their stomachs.

The sweet endings include cheese terrine, Basque burnt cheesecake and chocolate ganache cake. CU, 7-Eleven, Emart24 and GS25 are collaborating with famous bakeries or launching private-label desserts to meet demand. For instance, 7-Eleven sells Dolcarons, a macron made by a Jeju Island café, as well as a premium bakery brand, Brea;daum.

Convenience store desserts started to soar in popularity as more people ate alone during the coronavirus pandemic. Instagram photos of the desserts helped spread the trend. “The hype goes back to 2015. Convenience store chains started selling high-quality brewed coffee, driving up demand for sweet complements. Roll cakes and mini puffs were first to come, gaining popularity for their cheap price but delicious taste. Spoon cakes, Japanese mochi rolls and macarons also caught on. GS25 and CU used to be the only two convenience stores offering desserts, but Emart24 and 7-Eleven jumped on the bandwagon,” Korea Joongang Daily said.

For example, six years ago, GS25 had only five to six desserts but now stocks more than 40. GS25 dessert sales jumped 32.7% over the past year, while Emart24’s dessert sales increased 34% and CU’s rose 12.4% during the same time period.

With these dessert prices kept affordable, consumers have been more willing to try the tasty treats. “The convenience store is almost like a playground for the young, and companies are living up to their high expectations with high-quality products,” said Suh Yonh-gu, a professor at Sookmyung Women’s University’s Division of Business Administration.

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