Convenience stores remained a relatively niche channel within grocery retailing in Germany in 2021. Most consumers live within easy reach of other formats of grocery stores in the country, given the exceptionally high number of discounters and small-format supermarkets, which means the demand for convenient grocery options is largely satisfied by other channels.
Despite the unique market environment in Germany, stand-alone convenience stores expanded in the market pre-pandemic, especially in dense urban areas and city centres. The most notable brand expanding in this way was REWE to go, the convenience store concept from Rewe Group, one of Germany’s leading grocery retail companies.
Despite the continued challenges for convenience stores, forecourt retailers fared comparatively better in 2021. Even though many consumers remained at home for work, as they did in 2020, preventing them from commuting, more consumers made trips by car for leisure purposes in 2021 than in the previous year.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic and its limitations on travel, retail sales in travel locations such as airports, train stations and motorway rest stops are expected to grow significantly in the coming years. German consumers are likely to be more mobile than ever, given the pent-up demand generated in the wake of the pandemic and the desire to spend on holidays, and especially with savings not being spent in the past two years.
While Germany remains a much more traditional market when it comes to payments, even compared with neighbouring markets such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark or Poland, modern grocery retailers such as convenience stores have increasingly offered the most in terms of modern digital payment options, given the high rates of chained penetration. Most notably, DB ServiceStore, the convenience stores retail brand of the Deutsche Bahn rail operator, partnered with Valora, a Swiss-based retail group, to open a fully-automated 24/7 unmanned kiosk on a train platform near Hamburg in June 2021.
Despite the challenges of the stand-alone convenience stores model in downtown urban locations, which was previously the heart of REWE to go’s expansion strategy, the REWE to go brand continued to expand in Germany in 2021, and will continue to expand through forecourt retail locations in the years ahead. Hundreds of Aral shops are expected to be converted to REWE to go each year of the 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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