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Next stop for convenience stores

As the convenience store industry continues to show steady growth with sufficient government support and capital investment, it has already become a key focus of the retail market. In order to gain deeper insights into the development of convenience stores, this report analyzes the convenience store industry from three perspectives of future development, transformation and upgrading approaches as well as potential reshaping forces. The key findings include:

  • Driven by continued economic growth, emergence of major consumer groups, favourable policies, capital investment and participation of retailers, the convenience store industry has experienced stable growth over the past few years. As these driving factors continue to intensify their influence, the convenience store industry will embrace a new wave of development.
  • Digital-centered transformation will pioneer the next stop for the convenience store industry. With consumer needs at the core of the new retail ecosystem, digitalization has become a crucial means to cope with changes and challenges. On the one hand, the commercial nature of convenience stores calls for sustained reaction with and deeper insights into consumers via digital means such as omni-channel approach to optimize and innovate categories and services. On the other hand, the increasingly accelerated digital journey is engendering retail transformation from linear supply chain system to interconnected supply chain network. During the digital transformation, the convenience stores shall leverage digital means to develop an interconnected network binding various links within the supply chain, thus enabling more efficient, accurate and personalized operation along the entire supply to satisfy consumer needs. As talents constitute the fundamental driving force during the course of continued transformation, it is necessary to effectively attract and cultivate digital talents and facilitate existing talent transformation to pave the way for successful corporate transformation.
  • Participants from outside the industry may probably become the key force reshaping the convenience store landscape. The convenience store industry, characterized by continued stable development and high-frequency scattered transactions, is experiencing increasingly diversified development with multiple outsiders swarming into it. E-commerce companies striving to empower traditional shops are actively establishing offline retail network by means of resource integration and digitalization, aiming at improving overall operational performance; the accelerated emergence of new-type retailers may possibly pose threats to existing convenience stores, as both are featured by diversified service experience and ever-evolving operating models; the rise of diversified service providers, mainly in forms of unattended convenience stores and service providers, is expected to reshape existing industry structure via resource integration based on technologies, resources and management outputs. 
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