Taiwan, China flag Taiwan, China: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Taiwan, China

Evolution of the Sector
According to the latest figures from USDA, Taiwan’s F&B sales reached USD 38.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 1.78% compared with the previous year. In 2019, the revenue generated by supermarkets rose by 4.5% to USD 6.9 billion. Sales generated by convenience stores grew by 2.8%, while hypermarket sales also grew by 5.3%, to USD 6.9 billion. Other retail outlets, including e-commerce, mom-and-pop shops, and wet markets, saw an increase of 3.1%, to USD 5.6 billion.

International retailers dominate the market, with few domestic players in direct competition. International retail stores have taken advantage of Taiwan's geographical location, high population density, and high disposable incomes. In recent years, the traditional mom-and-pop shops and wet markets have suffered and lost market to hypermarkets, high-end supermarkets and convenience stores. This was also due to the changes in the population structure, as the drop in birth rates led to an increasing number of small families, with people shifting towards supermarkets to buy smaller portions rather than making big groceries in wet markets. However, continued fierce competition from hypermarkets and convenience stores has made it difficult for small supermarkets to survive, whereas sales have been driven by the increase in the number of stores and development of new store formats, such as more neighborhood-focused stores. With one store per every 2,300 people, Taiwan has the highest convenience store density in the world. Convenience store chains are now providing oven-prepared, microwavable meals, bakery products, and other processed food products via these retail channels.

7-11, FamilyMart, Costco, PXMart and Carrefour dominate the market, which is relatively fragmented. However, the scale of traditional players has been too small to compete with modern chains. Meanwhile, existing premium supermarkets have maintained steady growth, and new outlets have continued to open, incorporated within different concepts to attract consumers’ attention.
The onset of COVID 19 negatively impacted the overall retail sector but, as the pandemic receded, in-store sales recovered. According to the latest figures from the national statistical office, retail trade sales grew 3.26% in October 2020 (with 2016 as the base year), whereas F&B sales grew by 3.11%.

Market share
International retailers dominate the market, with few domestic players in direct competition.
The Taiwanese food retail market is so divided:

  • Convenience stores (USD 11 billion sales in 2019)
  • Hypermarkets (USD 7 billion sales in 2019)
  • Supermarkets (USD 6.9 billion sales in 2019)
  • Others (USD 5.6 billion sales in 2019).

In the convenience store section, the main players are 7-Eleven (5,655 outlets), Family Mart (3,602 outlets), Hi-Life (1,405 outlets), and OK Mart (902 outlets).
There are now 183 hypermarket outlets in Taiwan, with international players such as Carrefour (119 outlets) and Costco (15 outlets) dominating the market with more than 50% market share. The third player, RT Mart, has 22 outlets.
Major supermarkets include: PX Mart (1,002 outlets), Simple Mart (672 outlets), Wellcome (218 outlets), Jason Market Place (26 outlets), and Taiwan Fresh Supermarket (48 outlets).

Retail Sector Organisations
Taiwan Chain Stores and Franchise Association
Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs

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Latest Update: June 2022

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