CONVENIENCE STORE WINE SALES IS CHANGING SOUTH KOREA'S RETAIL LANDSCAPE
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Bundo Kim/Unsplash
Growth in wine sales have helped South Korea’s convenience store chains outstripped the three largest discount stores for the first time, according to a report from South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The report found that convenience stores GS25, CU and 7-Eleven’s sales account for 15.9 percent of all retail sales in 2021. It marked the first time that the convenience store chains have outstripped the three largest discount marts — Emart, Lotte Mart and Homeplus — which had 15.7 percent of the retail market share.
The report said this change in the retail market landscape was down to a sales doom of wines in convenience stores last year.
At 7-Eleven, wine sales grew 204.4 percent in 2021. GS25 reported 158.3 percent growth, Emart24 106 percent and CU 101.9 percent.
Emart24, the market leader in wine sales, sold 3.05 million bottles of wines last year, 24 percent of these were sold in December alone setting a monthly record.
"Unlike the average purchase cost of soju and beer that stand at around WON2,000 to 3,000 (USD1.7 to 2.55) each, the average purchase cost of wines stood at a relatively high price of WON11,000 (USD9.35) on average, up 23.6 percent compared to WON8,900 of pre-pandemic level in 2019," a spokesperson for 7-Eleven told Korea’s Joong An Daily.
"Wines are bringing in considerable profits, as even the expensive ones that cost over WON50,000 per bottle are high in demand," he added.
Convenience stores are expanding investments in wine retails as they play a crucial role in revenue growth.
GS25 is offering over 4,500 wine and spirit products online as of January, while 7-Eleven expanded its wine lineup from about 60 items in 2019 to over 140 items.
7-Eleven renovated its KT Gangnam branch located in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, into a "Wine Studio" specialising in wines. The chain plans to open more such outlets.
Emart24 aims to expand the number of branches specializing in wines and spirits to 4,000 this year, from the current 3,600.
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