Convenience stores a haven for most Saigon youth

By Dat Nguyen   December 20, 2018 | 05:29 pm PT
Convenience stores a haven for most Saigon youth
A man waits for his food at a convenience store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Minh
Increasing numbers of Saigon residents are visiting convenience stores, and most of the youth hangout there.

A survey by market research firm Q&Me in December found 80 percent of Saigon residents saying they patronize convenience stores. Of these, 61 percent are youth who also hangout in the stores, using in their eat-in space, attracted primarily by the air-conditioning.

Fifty-four percent of customers said they use the eat-in space because it is a good place to stay for a short time, while 51 percent said they come for the wifi, said the survey, which polled 500 people aged 16-39 online and 721 visitors at 110 convenience stores in Ho Chi Minh City.

The majority, 63 percent, of eat-in space customers are estimated to be in their 20s. Those in their 30s account for 16 percent, and teenagers, 15 percent. 

Those who age in their 40s and 50s account for only two percent of eat-in space users. 

Forty-four percent of customers use the eat-in space to drink, and 38 percent to eat and drink. Popular activities are chatting with friends, using their mobile phones and relaxing. 

The most popular foods at eat-in spaces are snacks, instant cup noodles and single customer hotpot. Instant cup noodles are popular during lunch and dinner time, while snacks are taken irrespective of timing. 

The eat-in space is most occupied during lunch time, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m, with half of the seats taken, on average. The period between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. also sees a high occupation rate of 33-37 percent.

The survey found VinMart+ has the highest number of stores at 805, followed by Circle K with 261 and Family Mart with 160.

Family Mart is the most popular store with 87 percent of respondents saying they have visited it earlier and 12 percent said they recognized it. 

VinMart+ comes next with 84 percent participants visiting and 15 percent recognizing, while the figures for Circle K are 76 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

The least popular stores are Shop & Go, 7 Eleven and GS25. Forty-two percent of respondents said they recognized Seven Eleven but have never visited a store. This ratio is 36 percent for GS25 and 30 percent for Shop & Go.

The number of convenience stores in Vietnam has increased by 21 percent year-on-year to 1,819 as of May, the survey found. Most of them are based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 

A previous report by market research firm Nielsen Vietnam had said that Vietnamese people have been going to convenience stores more often in recent years. It said that an average Vietnamese shopper make 4.5 trips a month to convenience stores this year, three times that of 2010. 

Since 2012, the number of convenience stores in the country has nearly quadrupled, Nielsen said.

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