Billion-dollar market: Soft drinks, dairy and snacks are most purchased products in Chinese convenience stores

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Soft drinks, dairy products and snacks are still the most commonly purchased products from convenience stores ©Getty Images
Soft drinks, dairy products and snacks are still the most commonly purchased products from convenience stores ©Getty Images

Related tags China Convenience stores Mintel

Soft drinks, dairy products and snacks are still the top product purchased from convenience stores in China, according to a report conducted by Mintel.

Among the purchases include carbonated soft drinks, juice, bottled water, milk, yoghurt, potato chips and chocolate bars.

Chih-yuan Wang, category research director, retail, China at Mintel Reports told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “Food and drink are the main products in convenience stores, especially ready-to-drink beverages, confectionaries, snack food etc​.”

The report pointed out that dairy products in particular, which tend to be more costly than other food items, were gaining popularity among Chinese consumers with high personal income, and those living in tier one cities.

As consumers seek fresher products and increasing acceptance of chilled dairy products, convenience stores’ cold-chain transportation and high turnover rates are clear advantages to bringing in more dairy products with a shorter shelf life​,” the report said.

In terms of other food items, Wang said health foods and supplements were not generally sold in convenience stores in China.

Wang said most of the products stocked were produced domestically, but added “imported products are gaining popularity but haven’t yet become the main products​.”

Billion-dollar market

Mintel predicts that the market value of Chinese convenience stores will reach RMB 246 billion (US$35bn) by 2024, from RMB 140 billion (US$20bn) in 2018. It grew at a CAGR of 24% over the past five years.

Given consumers’ ongoing demand for convenience, coupled with rising urbanisation, this momentum and vibrant growth is expected to keep up in the years to come.

The number of convenience stores is predicted to increase too, from 75,000 units in 2018, to an estimated 117,000 units by 2024.

In 2018, the top 10 convenience store brands accounted for 53.5% of market share.

East Asia influence

The top four most visited brands were FamilyMart, 7-Eleven, Meiyijia and Lawson respectively.

According to Wang, Chinese convenience stores were generally influenced from Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

The popularity of FamilyMart was attributed to more consumers in the East region visiting convenience stores.

Wang added there was a huge gap in visits between urban and rural areas. Within China, consumers living in the North region such as Changchun and Yantai had lower levels of visiting convenience stores overall.

Meiyijia currently owns the most number of stores in China, at 15,000 units.

More private label

The report also indicated room for private label development in China’s convenience stores, “(which) still lags far behind that of equivalent chains in developed countries​.”

For instance, FamilyMart in China has launched its own snack food brand, YUMMY, and 7-Eleven has introduced its own private label line, Seven Select.

According to the report, many large chain operators are also increasing their fresh and healthy products, private label products, as well as premium and imported food offerings to improve profitability.

The report also recommended exporters to target local distributors, which convenience store operators rely on, rather than working directly with the convenience stores.

Based on the growing number of outlets and popularity with consumers, the report concluded that convenience stores will grow over the next three years and may become an important distribution channel for imported foods.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Elevate your snacks with novel cheese flavours

Elevate your snacks with novel cheese flavours

Content provided by Givaudan | 23-Feb-2024 | Product Brochure

Aside from conducting desk research to understand snacking preferences and taste profiles among consumers in the Asia Pacific, Givaudan also embarked on...

How Korean culture penetrated the APAC food industry?

How Korean culture penetrated the APAC food industry?

Content provided by BIOSPRINGER, natural Yeast ingredients | 17-Jan-2024 | White Paper

Korean food is on-trend in Asia. We mainly find Korean taste in noodles, sauces & dressings, pickled condiments, ready meals and savory snacks.

Empowering Women Through the Life Cycle

Empowering Women Through the Life Cycle

Content provided by Glanbia Nutritionals | 07-Nov-2023 | Product Brochure

As discussions around female empowerment widen, and advances in women’s health access and provision accelerate, the implications for business, healthcare,...

Analyzing the unknown threat from Microplastics

Analyzing the unknown threat from Microplastics

Content provided by Agilent Technologies | 06-Nov-2023 | Infographic

Microplastics are any plastic-derived synthetic solid particle or polymeric matrix, ranging in size from 1 µm to 5 mm and insoluble in water.

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more


Food & Beverage Trailblazers