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Convenience stores in South Korea - statistics & facts

Convenience stores are mostly franchised, easily accessible retail businesses of smaller sales area, offering everyday items such as food, tobacco, newspapers and toiletries. Those in South Korea also offer additional services such as seating areas, microwaves, postal services, charging transportation cards or paying utility fees, and even sometimes selling gold items or houses. They have become an important retail channel, having the second largest share in offline retail sales in South Korea.
Convenience stores can be found almost everywhere in South Korea, with over 40 thousand convenience stores in South Korea, of which most of them operated for more than 14 hours per day.

South Korea's convenience store market leaders

  Japanese convenience store brand 7-eleven has more than 70 thousand stores in operation worldwide, but on the South Korean market BGF Retails CU has the numerical advantage, not only over 7-eleven, but also other big brands like GS Retails GS25, e-mart24 and another Japanese franchise competing on the South Korean market, Ministop. GS25 was a close second, after leading in the previous year.
While the sales revenue of the two biggest franchises, CU and GS25, kept increasing over the years, both of them experienced a decrease in operating profit recently, like most of the other leading franchises. Among the leading convenience store brands, the only one that recorded a decrease in sales was Ministop.

What are popular convenience store products in South Korea?

While by far not being among the preferred channels to shop for processed foods among South Korean customers, it is noteworthy that beverages and processed foods made up for a major product sales share in convenience stores. Besides snacks and instant noodles, called ramyeon, or seasonal popular items, such as cups of ice for cooled drinks in the summer, convenience stores are extending their product range of healthier foods, offering more fruits and vegetables. Stores also offer home meal replacements (HMR) and other easily prepared convenience foods.
Following the sales of food items were tobacco and smoking related goods. Especially during the times of increased social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), tobacco products experienced majorly increased sales compared to the months before and after.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Convenience stores in South Korea".


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