Vietnam Tipped to be Asia’s Fastest-Growing Convenience Market


This article was originally published on Food Industry Asia and is republished with permission.

Source: IGD

Vietnam is forecast to be the fastest-growing convenience market in Asia by 2021, followed by the Philippines and Indonesia, according to new data released today by international grocery research organisation IGD.

Asia’s grocery market is the largest in the world, with a predicted 6.3% compound annual growth rate up to 2021. Its size is forecast to reach US$4.8 trillion by 2021: equivalent to Europe’s and North America’s combined. In the convenience channel, IGD is forecasting high double-digit compound annual growth over the next four years in Vietnam (37.4%), the Philippines (24.2%) and Indonesia (15.8%), based on the performance of the leading convenience store operators in each market. 


Nick Miles, Head of Asia-Pacific at IGD, says: “The retail markets in these three countries are gradually shifting from traditional to modern trade, and there are several factors driving this: a positive economic outlook; a significant increase in GDP per capita; deregulated markets encouraging more foreign investment; and rapidly changing shopper habits.


“Among all the bricks and mortar grocery channels, convenience shows the strongest growth prospects in Asia, thanks to rapid urbanisation, a growing young population and greater levels of disposable income.”


On the particularly strong growth tipped for Vietnam, Miles says: “Convenience stores in Vietnam have become popular destinations for young consumers to shop and hang out, as the stores provide them with an air-conditioned environment, well-organised shelves and seating areas, high quality products and, in some stores, free Wi-Fi. It is also easier to get licences for stores under 500 sqm, which is why retailers have been expanding to gain market share.” 


Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia share similar characteristics that make their convenience markets particularly ripe for growth, according to IGD:


Store expansion: These three convenience markets are predominantly driven by an increase in store numbers. For example, the number of c-stores operated by the top five retailers in the Philippines has more than doubled in the last five years and retailers are gradually shifting their focus from the capital to more provincial areas for greater opportunities


Local players are gaining a stronger foothold: Asia’s convenience market has traditionally been dominated by Japanese retailers. However, there have been more market consolidations and partnerships and most noticeably, domestic players such as VinMart in Vietnam and SM Retail in the Philippines have been scaling up their operations and establishing leadership in their local markets 


Neighbourhood mini-supermarkets are becoming more popular: Apart from the modern convenience store format, local operators such as Indonesia’s Indomaret and Dairy Farm’s Wellcome format in the Philippines have developed a successful neighbourhood mini-supermarkets model, which better caters to local needs. These mini-supermarkets are typically c.150-300 sqm and are located in residential areas, with a focus on fresh food, top-up grocery and food-for-tonight


Miles adds: “Across all the region’s key growth markets, we expect to see retailers and manufacturers increasing their investment in convenience, championing innovative new products and formats such as food-to-go, and above all, working collaboratively to ensure they are making the most of these exciting growth prospects.”


Asian convenience market growth forecast by country 2017-2021


Country                         CAGR to 2021 (%)
1 Vietnam                         37.4
2 Philippines                     24.2
3 Indonesia                      15.8
4 Malaysia                        10.5
5 India                              10.3
6 South Korea                  8.4
7 China                            7.1
8 Thailand                        6.6
9 Japan                            5.5  

Source: IGD Research, IGD Datacentre

NB: Retailer sales CAGR growth is calculated based upon the performance of the leading retailers covered by IGD Datacentre

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