In this – his 7th and final piece on the subject – co-author David Roth considers the impact of increased understanding and awareness of customer needs on the convenience store retail segment in China. WPP have a vast wealth of expertise in China on this and many other topics and David drew on the results of this rich expertise to compile the seven posts.
Relatively low numbers of car owners by population, combined with city congestion, has meant Chinese shoppers have always valued convenience retailing. So far this has not represented a competitive threat for large format retailers but in the Year of the Horse we expect this to change. Convenience retailers’ growing understanding of the power they have to compete as a true retailer – rather than just an ‘impulse location’ – will exert more pressure on ‘traditional’ retail. Their vast distribution network is already in place and as they tweak their product offering to increase the value of basket sizes, we predict strong growth. Around the world, we’ve witnessed this retail approach lead the consumer away from larger formats and we fully anticipate it will now do the same in China. Look out for competitors vying to buy the well-established traditional branded convenience stores as international retailers realise that these small outlets are real strongholds. Winning will come at a price however, as critical mass and distribution affordability will ultimately be the determining factors for business success. These will take time to set up, and whether already entrenched convenience brands will be able to leverage their head start remains to be seen. Regardless of who and how this slice of the retailing pie expands, we’re confident that it will prove to be a very robust format in years to come.