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Convenience Store Proximity: A Key Factor in Residential Decisions in Japan

by Ferre Keira
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Nearly a quarter of Japanese individuals, approximately 23.6%, frequent convenience stores daily. Real estate experts emphasize the pivotal role of proximity to convenience stores in residential choices for many home buyers and renters.


“7-Eleven” has won the favor of Japanese consumers with its “diversified food.” (Photo via Mexwire)

TOKYO, JAPAN (Merxwire) – Convenience stores have become indispensable to the daily routines of countless Japanese citizens, providing essential services around the clock, from food and daily necessities to information printing and bill payments. With nearly a quarter of the Japanese population visiting convenience stores at least once daily, the distance between residential areas and these establishments has emerged as a critical consideration in housing decisions. Japan boasts a dense network of convenience stores, perpetually innovating to secure market share. Surveys reveal “7-Eleven” as the preferred convenience store brand among Japanese consumers, closely trailed by FamilyMart and Lawson. These findings underscore the competitive nature of the convenience store sector, where brands continuously introduce new offerings to meet consumers’ evolving needs and preferences.

According to a recent survey conducted by LINE RESEARCH among Japanese people aged 10 to 60 years old, half of the respondents said that the number one convenience store they like most is “7-Eleven”, accounting for 48.7%, followed by “FamilyMart,” accounting for 20.2% , “Lawson” ranked third, accounting for 18.9. As of the end of March 2024, 7-Eleven is also the convenience store with the most significant number of stores, with 21,544 stores in Japan. The second place is FamilyMart, with 16,263 stores across Japan; the third place is Lawson, with 14,643 stores.

Judging from the number of stores in each region, 7-Eleven, which ranks first in the country, also ranks first in each area. FamilyMart and Lawson are evenly matched. FamilyMart ranks second in the Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, and Kinki regions. Lawson ranks second in China’s western region, with exceptionally high proportions in China and Shikoku. The most special thing is that in Hokkaido, “Seicomart” stores accounted for 27.1%, ranking second. Seicomart’s first store opened in Sapporo, with over 1,000 stores in Hokkaido alone.

Convenience store nameRatio of favoritesNumber of stores in Japan
7-Eleven48.7%21,544
FamilyMart20.2%16,263
Lawson18.9%14,643
Ministop3.6%1,856
Seicomart2.6%1,189
7-Eleven was voted Japan’s favorite convenience store, followed by FamilyMart and Lawson.
(The number of stores is counted until March 2024) (Chart via Mexwire)

Japanese convenience stores are famous for their clean environment, bright space, and 24-hour operation. 7-Eleven ranks first in terms of popularity, number of stores in Japan, and number of regional stores. What conditions affect the ranking in the minds of consumers? According to statistics from Japan Market Research Agency Co., Ltd., 45% of people go to convenience stores to “buy food.” The deliciousness of the food sold by convenience stores is one of the keys consumers attach great importance to. According to feedback from respondents, 7-Eleven is favored by consumers for its “delicious side dishes and lunch boxes,” “a wide variety of side dishes and lunch boxes,” “a wide variety of products,” and “the coffee tastes good,” which means “Diverse cuisine” is the main reason why 7-Eleven is widely loved by consumers.

According to statistics from the Japanese market research agency, 79% of the respondents said they “go to a convenience store at least once a week,” and more than half will choose the convenience store closest to their home. Therefore, the distance between a house and a convenience store has become a consideration for many renters or home buyers. Japanese real estate agency experts said that when many customers see a house on site, they are most concerned about the distance between their home and a convenience store. If a convenience store is right between the house and the station, it is usually the most popular among renters. For investors, the density and distance of convenience stores around the house are essential to choosing a home.

The number of tourists in Japan continues to soar. People worldwide travel to Japan, and convenience stores have become must-visit stores for many tourists. Many Internet celebrities and Youtubers use the “Must-Buy Foods at Japanese Convenience Stores” theme to introduce the food, snacks, and drinks exclusively launched by various Japanese convenience stores, often setting off a rush to buy. During your trip to Japan, plan one of your meals here, enjoy convenience store lunch boxes and fragrant coffee, deeply experience Japanese food culture, and taste local daily delicacies.

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