Who will be the winner in the competition of convenience stores in Japan?


Today I am in Tokyo, Japan. So I would like to write convenience stores in Japan.  Since 7-eleven opened in 1974, there are a lot of varieties of  convenience stores in Japan. But as the populations of Japan are decreasing  and too many convenience stores are already in Japan,  Competions of convenience stores are getting tougher and tougher. Therefore, small and medium sized store chains have a hard time and some of them are acquired d by big  convenience store chains.  Now it is almost clear that the big three, which are 7-elevenLawson and Family Mart, dominate the market.

There are many convenience stores in Japan.  Therefore, they have huge impacts to merchandise there. For example,  a cup of coffee is served at the counter of most of convenience stores. Some of them are self-serviced. The taste is very good, although it is reasonable (around 100JPY).  They are getting popular and compete with canned  coffee in vendor machines or coffee shops.  You can try this coffee when you come to Japan as there are many convenience stores near the stations.


In terms of usage of big data for business decisions,  I am very interested in Lawson because it analyses data from stores and predict what products are popular.  This picture is my “Ponta CARD”.  When I buy products at Lawson, I present it at the counter.  So Lawson knows what and when I buy there.  It works all over Japan, therefore a huge amount of data is collected and analyzed everyday.


According to “Top Management Message October 7, 2015” by Lawson,  it introduces more advanced “semi-automatic ordering system”. Let see what it is.

“We began introducing our new semi-automatic ordering system from June to improve the delivery of products to our stores. The system is designed to recommend the most appropriate product lineup and number of items for delivery based on a range of data for ready-made snack meals and other categories, such as Ponta member purchasing trends, a store’s most recent sales data and information on heavy user purchases, information from other stores with a similar customer base, the weather, and finally information on the various campaigns conducted. The semi-automatic ordering system had been introduced in approximately 7,500 stores at the end of August 2015.” (1)

It is amazing!  Convenience store is usually not so big. Therefore, it is very important to know how many and what products are on store shelves. Data tells us how to do that accurately! I would like to research  what important factors are in this analysis going forward. You may be interested in them, too!


When you come to Japan,  you can find convenience stores at the every corner of the cities. There are many onigiri (rice ball), bento (lunch box), breads, beverages and sweets. Most of them are open 24 hours a day so you can enjoy shopping  anytime you want. Let us go there and see who will be the winner in the competition of convenience stores in Japan!



1. Lawson website




Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy.  The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.

Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and I, Author of the article has not independently verified, validated such data. I and TOSHI STATS.SDN.BHD. accept no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from the use of this information and relies upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user.