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Convenience stores become biggest seller of alcohol drinks

Convenience stores have become the largest market for selling alcohol drinks, a market report showed Wednesday, apparently due to more people choosing to drink alone or with their families.

The retail index provided by information analysis firm Nielsen Korea said convenience stores ousted discount chains to become the biggest seller of alcohol for the first time in the first half of this year.

Sales increased across the board at convenience stores compared with previous years. For low alcohol content drinks, convenience stores accounted for 32.8 percent of total sales in the first half of this year compared with 13 percent in 2014 and 29.1 percent last year.

For beer, convenience stores sold 27.1 percent of the total, up from 21.9 percent two years ago. In case of soju, a rice-based alcohol popular throughout the country, the sales through convenience stores reached 17.1 percent compared with 15.4 percent in 2014.

Records from different store chains show higher sales of alcohol drinks throughout the year. At GS25, beer sales jumped 24.7 percent as of November this year from the same period last year.

The increase for soju was 21.1 percent, and 13.2 percent for wine and other types of alcohol.

CU reported an overall sales jump of 20.5 percent, with soju sales up 27.7 percent from last year.

"People who live alone or want to drink alone will probably go to convenience stores rather than large discount chains to buy drinks," an official at CU said about the sales increase. "Up until a few years ago, wholesalers supplied alcohol drinks to convenience stores at a higher price than to discount chains. But as sales increased at convenience stores and their buying power became stronger, the price difference has nearly disappeared. That has been a positive change for convenience stores." (Yonhap)

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