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Convenience stores engage in dessert warfare

Aug 21,2019
7-Eleven egg tarts, left, GS25 honey strawberry frappe, right. [7-ELEVEN, GS25]
Dessert sales at convenience stores are booming as Koreans ask themselves the age-old question: why can’t I have dessert whenever I want it?

No longer is it seen as a luxury to be consumed in the proper place and at the proper time.

Convenience stores are piling on new desserts to meet the growing demand and changing lifestyles.

7-Eleven on Tuesday said it has introduced egg tarts. They are priced at 1,500 won ($1.30) and come in two varieties: original and brown sugar.

According to 7-Eleven, its dessert sales have grown more than 100 percent annually since 2016. Their sales in 2016 grew 102.2 percent on year, in 2017 135.4 on year and in 2018 232.4 percent on year. From January to mid-August this year, dessert sales grew 90.1 percent on year.

“Convenience stores offer an accessibility and an affordable price for consumers to enjoy prestigious desserts,” dessert merchandiser Jang Yeo-jeong wrote in a statement.

“7-Eleven plans to continuously introduce differentiated desserts to lead the market.”

GS25 is fighting back to win the hearts and stomachs of convenience-store customers.

It has continuously expanded the number of desserts sold at its stores, from 10 in 2016 to 35 as of this year. When GS25 first took desserts seriously in 2015, the operator mostly dealt with low-priced items, like macarons, which are priced below 2,000 won.

But the convenience store operator says it now deals with fancier desserts, like parfaits priced between 4,000 and 5,000 won.

The on year dessert sales at GS25 were up 72.6 percent in 2015, which was followed by 74.8 percent in 2016, 89.6 percent in 2017 and a whopping 161.7 percent last year.

“More people have started enjoying desserts with the appearance of cafes that exclusively deal with desserts,” said a spokesperson for GS25.

“The overall rise in demand for desserts has led customers to seek desserts at convenience stores that are cheaper, and they are able to eat them on-site without having to wait to be served.”

CU unleashed a number of new desserts, including brown sugar ice cream, this summer.

The on year dessert sales of BGF Retail, which operates CU, increased 62.3 percent in 2016, 33.1 percent in 2017 and 331.8 percent last year.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]


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