According to a YOLO JAPAN survey, the most used convenience store by foreign residents is Seven Eleven
In addition to food products, many of the customers positively commented about being able to send and receive goods as well as being able to use photocopiers and other peripheral devices
YOLO JAPAN Corporation (Representative Director: Taisuke Kaji, Osaka Headquarters: Naniwa-ku, Osaka, hereinafter "YOLO JAPAN"), which operates one of Japan's largest media platform with a membership of over 160,000 foreign residents from 26 countries, conducted a questionnaire survey* targeted towards foreign residents about convenience stores.
*Survey period: June 15, 2020 - September 10, 2020
Respondents: 643 YOLO JAPAN members from 67 countries
According to the survey, the most used convenience store by foreign residents was Seven Eleven (85%, 546 people). This was followed by Family Mart (79%, 511 people), and Lawson (60%, 388 people). In addition, an important factor that respondents consider when choosing which convenience store to use is its location such as whether it is close to a station or to their home (76%, 469 people). From the respondent's answers, we found that the store being located near where they live was the most important factor.
Additionally, another important factor when choosing a convenience store were the foods and drinks sold at the store. Sweets were the most cited reason for choosing a convenience store (31%, 197 people). We found that respondents preferred sweets that can be eaten with ease. This was followed by a wide variety of sandwiches and breads (29%, 184 people), which was followed by coffee that is made using special roasting and dripping methods. From this survey, we found that the most important factor was the location of the store, but if there were other convenience stores nearby, then a store was selected depending on what type of sweets or bread was sold there.
On the other hand, we asked around for opinions on how Japanese convenience stores compared to convenience stores in the respondent's home country. Regarding this question, the following are comments from respondents of different nationalities:
【There are no convenience stores in my country】
Many respondents said that there are no convenience stores in their home country. We also found that they felt convenience stores are very useful because they are open 24-hours.
"There are no convenience stores in my country, but the Mini Market serves a similar purpose. Having said that, services that are offered at convenience stores in Japan such as copiers and ATMs are not offered there."
(Peru, 30s, male)
"In my country there are no convenience stores, so if the supermarket closes there are no places to do shopping. Convenience stores in Japan are very useful because they allow us to do shopping even late at night. It's nice that we can find a wide variety of products which are of excellent quality."
(Brazil, 30s, male)
"There are no convenience stores in my country. When I go back to my home country, I always realize how useful convenience stores are."
(Italy, 30s, male)
【In addition to food, the facility is well-equipped】
Also, being able to do so many things conveniently at one place from using the ATM and photocopiers to being able to receive and send packages at the cash register is something that is not offered in other countries. It has been found that it is this usefulness that is making more and more foreigners use convenience stores in Japan.
"Reasonably priced and healthy products are sold. Not only are food products and everyday items sold at convenience stores; they have everything. I myself buy all sorts of products there. Also being able to use the mail and payment services at the store is very helpful. As the name suggests, convenience stores are very 'convenient'."
(USA, 30s, female)
"Japanese convenience stores are air-conditioned, clean and attractive. Also, the stores provide services such as ATMs, postal tickets, photo printing, and others. In my country, to do these things we need to go to different stores; and the stores, including their appearance, are not attractive nor are they clean.
(Nepal, 20s, female)
"Japanese convenience stores are more useful than the ones in France. The stores are open 24-hours a day and they provide more services (printers, ATMs, coffee machines, sending letters/packages, bill payments, etc.).
(France, 20s, male)
【The food is good】
We found out that many foreign residents place emphasis on the taste and quality of their food. They are interested in having healthy meals without the hassle. Also, having the option to have "food heated up" was a positive factor.
"I like the wide selection and very reasonable prices. Especially the way food is packaged and being able to ask to have your food heated up is wonderful."
(Sweden, 20s, female)
"Food products sold at Japanese convenience stores are high in quality and are fresh. I don't want to buy products at convenience stores in my home country because the prices are too high and the quality is not very good."
(South Africa, 30s, female)
"Japanese convenience stores offer a good selection of Japanese dishes. Even if the food is not fresh out of the kitchen, it still tastes like food served at a restaurant."
(Philippines, 40s, female)
【The workers at the store are very nice】
Many people positively commented on how they were greeted when they entered the store and how the store staff responded to questions. Many also commented on how impressed they were with the kindness displayed towards customers.
"In my country, there are stores owned by individuals where you can buy simple things, but it is not a "convenience store." So, when I came to Japan for the first time, what I wanted to do the most was to experience what a convenience store in Japan was really like. It was a great experience when upon entering the store being able to hear the door chime and the shop clerk's greeting. Also, the stores have almost everything necessary for daily life, I love Japanese convenience stores." (Argentina, 20s, male)
"I love how the shop staff greets customers when they enter the store and how they put the needs of their customers above everything else."
(Malaysia, 40s, female)
Based on the above results, although Seven Eleven is the most visited convenience store by foreign residents due to its usefulness based on its location and accessibility, we can see that what makes a convenience store popular with foreign residents is whether the store provides high quality food products, various services such as being able to send and receive goods, and on how well the shop staff provides service towards their customers.
By using information obtained from questionnaires, YOLO JAPAN will continue to expand its services in order to provide better support for foreigners living in Japan.