Convenience stores are only brought to Taiwan in 1979. Over the course of decades, Taiwan had developed the highest density of convenience stores in the world. The latest investigation carried out by the “Fair Trade Commission” reports that Taiwan had 9483 convenience stores in total in the end of 2010.
What makes convenience store in Taiwan unique
While convenience stores in other countries usually only mean a place that sell sundries, convenience stores in Taiwan do far more than that. Shoppers can withdraw money, book train ticket, sit down and dine where comfortable chairs and tables are offered, and even babysitting service can be provided. These kinds of services based sales jumped by 50 percent from 2009 to 2010. As convenience stores become more and more daily life oriented, people in Taiwan also have become dependent on convenience stores. More than 40 percent of people in Taiwan visit convenience store at least once per day, and more than 20 percent eat meals in the stores.
A still proliferating market
Despite the high density, the Taiwan convenience store sales are still expected to reach a record high of US$9.52 billion in 2015, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. The increase is steady in recent years. In 2014, Taiwan convenience store net achieved sales of NT$289.2 billion, up by 4.8 percent from last year. In 2013, the figure is 3.1 percent. It also has a second largest share of the nation’s retail sale, accounting for 26.1 percent, and is expected to exceed the department store in 2015, whose share is 27.7 percent.One of the fundamental reason for the continuing development of convenience stores is that working class people constitute the majority of population in Taiwan. This class of people usually have less demand for luxury items but their demand for some daily necessities like fast-processed food is inelastic. So the convenience stores can still be dynamic even in times of economic downturn.
As cities develop and more and more people concentrate onto urban areas, especially in a crowded place like Taiwan, the city capacity for big stores is actually limited. So small stores, like convenience stores, have more possibility to expand further and could take on a more inseparable role in facilitating people’s life, and people could be increasingly dependent on convenience store. The prospects for convenience stores in Taiwan are still optimistic.