Chinese convenience shoppers state demands

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New research from global market-intelligence agency Mintel shows that Chinese convenience shoppers are looking for quality, proximity and range of products as key points when choosing which store to shop at.

Fifty-three per cent of surveyed convenience-store shoppers in China said product quality was a key factor in deciding which stores to frequent, followed by proximity (52 per cent) and range of products (31 per cent).

In-store services rated fourth highest in key influence factors at 25 per cent, only just beating available payment options at 24 per cent. Interestingly, all these factors rated much higher than other tools such as promotions (20 per cent) and loyalty schemes (12 per cent).

Results from the research indicate that convenience stores achieved a CAGR of 13.6 per cent from 2011 to 2016, with expected further growth of nine per cent over the next five years.

“While recent growth in the convenience-store market has been strong, convenience-store chains must start to innovate, as today’s consumers are seeking wider product and service ranges,” Mintel Asia-Pacific Director of Research Matthew Crabbe said.

“They also want more localised and individualised service, and for store chains to respond quickly to their changing needs. Putting things into perspective, there is demand for convenience stores to fulfil a growing list of community needs in order to differentiate, and improve customer retention.”

Salty snacks, bakery products and confectionery proved to be favourites among shoppers surveyed, but the most commonly bought items for convenience store shoppers in China were dairy products (75 per cent of respondents) and soft drinks (72 per cent).

“Urban Chinese consumers are now enjoying more fast-paced lifestyles, creating an obvious rise in demand for convenience,” Mr Crabbe said. “Choosing more ready-to-eat foods from convenience stores, especially snacks, indicates these stores fulfil a role in satisfying consumers’ immediate and discretionary needs.

“Additionally, consumers are increasingly embracing the convergence of online and physical retail stores, as reflected by the increased use of services such as online account top-ups and delivery collection. This is widening the range of services and products available and adding yet more convenience for them. This also creates more reasons for consumers to make return visits, helping convenience stores to become more competitive.”