Proximity and convenience proved to be key factors behind the very strong growth of convenience stores in 2020. Following such a performance, and in the context of the progressive lifting of restrictions related to COVID-19, convenience stores’ value sales declined slightly in 2021.
Belgium has a traditionally high density of convenience stores. Due to the relevance of the proximity trend, the category did not significantly feel the impact of the growing trend towards food e-commerce in 2020.
Carrefour and Delhaize were the most dynamic players in both 2020 and 2021. Carrefour capitalised on the proximity trend thanks to the wider network of convenience stores in Belgium.
Following several years of positive growth based mostly on outlets’ expansion, retailers in the category now face a crossroad; indeed, the strong development and increasing popularity of food e-commerce are likely to offset the proximity trend. As a result, while Carrefour and Delhaize are likely to keep expanding their network of outlets, other players such as Colruyt are set to invest more in e-commerce.
Convenience stores are indeed likely to face increasing competition from food e-commerce players. Such competition is likely to come from two sides.
In order to keep growing, retailers need to rethink their policies in light of an omnichannel strategy. Indeed, growth through store expansion alone is unlikely to prove a winning strategy over the 2022-2026 forecast period.
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Chained grocery retail outlets selling a wide range of groceries and fitting several of the following characteristics: Extended opening hours Selling area of less than 400 sq metres Located in residential neighbourhoods Handling two or more of the following product categories: audio-visual goods (for sale or rent), foodservice (prepared take-away, made-to-order, and hot foods), newspapers or magazines, cut flowers or pot plants, greetings cards, automotive accessories. Sales data excludes foodservice sales. Example brands include 7-Eleven, Spar. Note: The number of branches required to be termed chained varies from country to country but is usually ten or more. If a multinational is operating in the country, then this is included, even if there are fewer than ten outlets under the brand.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Convenience Stores research and analysis database.
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