Asia ‘konbini’ stores becoming serious pet retail channel

Learn about the rise of convenience stores as pet retail channels in Asia.

Photo by Alma J. Buelva
Photo by Alma J. Buelva

As of September 2020, Japan had over 52,000 konbinis nationwide that carry pet-related products. Leading the pack is 7-Eleven with almost 21,000 stores, followed by FamilyMart (about 16,650 stores) and Lawson (about 14,500 stores). Other konbini networks attracting shoppers are Circle K Sunkus (6,359 stores), Ministop (2,218 stores) and Daily Yamazaki (1,600 stores).

Early in 2021, the Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that Japan's konbini store operators are finding it lucrative to carry pet-related products as pet owners tend to spend more compared to regular customers. 

In 2020 Japan had approximately 18.13 million pets (8.5 million dogs and 9.6 million cats), according to an annual survey conducted by Japan Pet Food Association (JPFA). 

7-Eleven taking advantage of pet food market opportunities

Meanwhile in Taiwan, 7-Eleven also recognizes the opportunities coming from the pet food industry and has began allotting precious retail space for pet products in 200 of its 500 outlets nationwide. 

7-Eleven Taiwan has filled up its shelves with premium and supplementary pet food and treats from international and local brands. It partnered with Wangmiao Planet, local maker of the popular DogCatStar brand of wet food for cats and dogs, to supply pet products exclusive to 7-Eleven, and Wanda Pet Group's Pet Park, a chain of pet stores that offers pet products and services.

Taiwan's pet ownership rate in 2019 was one pet out of every four households, and the pet food market there is expected to be worth US$310 million by the year 2024, according to Market Watch data.

A study by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (FTC) found that a Taiwanese consumer typically visits a convenience store 137 times a year and spends at least US$3 per visit. FTC records show Taiwan was home to 11,985 convenience stores in 2020, operated by 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, OKmart and Million. 

However, the FTC noted an upward trend in the amount of time and money that Taiwanese shoppers spend at these stores, with about 3.2 billion visits recorded in 2020 nationwide. Food and beverage are the regular items that most Taiwanese people buy, leading the FTC to suggest that convenience stores have become important retail channels for everyday household needs, which include pet food.

7-Eleven is open to expanding its pet section to all its remaining outlets throughout Taiwan. The company is also extending its pet products offerings on its e-commerce platform. 

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