Convenience stores sees sales surgeAs single-person households emerge as the main consumer group for convenience stores, sales at the ubiquitous outlets have taken off this year.
CU, the nation’s largest convenience store chain, which retails about 500 private brand (PB) products, said sales of PB items increased 32.5 percent this year, as of the end of November, compared to the same period last year.
PB products are typically less expensive than their brand-name counterparts, according to industry observers.
Sales of fast and easy food products like lunchboxes jumped 55.7 percent, kimbap, seaweed covered rice snacks 24.2 percent and hamburgers 18.8 percent.
In particular, sales of PB items produced by convenience store chains such as their lunchboxes and bottled water have surged this year.
Ministop, a local convenience store chain, also saw sales of hot foods such as chicken pieces, skewered foods and fish cakes increase 40.5 percent through November, compared to the same period last year.
Due to the increased number of single households, side-dish food products jumped 370 percent and instant food sales rose 40.5 percent at Ministop this year through November.
Sales of bottled water also increased as single households and double-income couples chose to buy from convenience stores rather than boiling water to drink.
According to 7-Eleven, accumulated sales of bottled water, which accounted for 43.3 percent of all sales in 2011, grew to 48 percent this year as of November.
Sales of bottled water also increased 12.4 percent through November compared to the same period last year.
“Following last year, when single households accounted for more than half of the customers, single households and double-income couples continue to lead the consumption trend at convenience stores this year,” said a spokesman for 7-Eleven.
“While the trend is expected to continue through next year, competition among convenience stores to secure titles of their representative products for these consumer groups will be ever more fierce.”
At GS25, its PB bottled water ranked second in terms of the sales volume of all products this year.
“Breaking away from the rules that only small volume products sell well at convenience stores, the large capacity 2 liter of PB bottled water was ranked second in sales. As it is priced 1,000 won, much cheaper than other 2-liter bottled water products, it shows the spread of a thrifty consumption trend,” said a spokesperson for GS25.
Meanwhile, sales of Japanese products have recorded a significant decline.
Sales of the Japanese beer Asahi fell 12.7 percent year-on-year from June through the end of November at GS25 and more than 32 percent in August alone.
Among the imported canned beer, Japanese beer accounted for 43.4 percent of all sales from June through November last year, but the share declined to 34.8 percent during the same period this year at the convenience store chain.
BY KIM JUNG-YOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]