There has been a spike in the amount of convenience store chains throughout Vietnam and especially in the major cities throughout the country. Traditionally Vietnam has all been about the street markets however developments in recent years have increased the need for convenience stores open often 24 hours a day. There are four major chains that you will encounter all over the country and most likely frequent inside quite a few times during your stay, Circle K, Vinmart+, Family Mart and Seven-Eleven. These stores do sell products here at a higher rate then you would find elsewhere but they will most certainly come in handy on several stages throughout your trip. Here is our guide to the main convenience chains located throughout the country!



1.Circle K

 

 

Circle K is a Canadian multi-national chain of convenience stores. It first opened in Vietnam in 2009 and since then spread quickly throughout the major cities of the country.  Circle K is the first international convenience store chain to be opened in Vietnam currently boasting over 300 stores in Ha Noi, Ha Long, Ho Chi Minh and Vung Tau. Circle K resembles the typical western convenience store like 7-11 which is why it has become so popular among western tourist in Vietnam. The stores are usually quite small and packed with the essentials that you would expect to find such as toothbrushes, charges, snacks, hot meals, alcohol, tobacco and much more. Most Circle K’s are open 24 hours.

Offical Conbeo Rating

  • Convenience: 10/10
  • Food Selection: 7/10
  • Air Conditioning: 10/10
  • Travel essentials selection 9/10

Total Score: 36/40

 

2.Vinmart+

 

 

Vinmart+ is Vietnam’s answer to the rise of foreign convenience shops popping up throughout the country. Previously Vinmart+ was the Singaporean chain Shop&Go but after being acquired by Vietnamese firm Vincommerce it became rebranded as Vinmart+. Vinmart+ is now by far the fastest growing convenience store in Vietnam with a total of 1700 stores located across the country. While the Circle K chains are more catered around the traveler the Vinmart+ stores have much more of a Vietnamese flare to them. Besides the general items you will find in a convenience store you are more likely to find local favorites rather then imported goods.

Official Conbeo Rating

  • Convenience 10/10
  • Food selection 8/10
  • Air conditioning 6/10
  • Travel essentials 6/10

Total score: 30/40 

3.Family Mart

 

The Japanese convenience giant FamilyMart has been in Vietnam for some years now much to the delight of the large number of Japanese immigrants and tourist that are in Vietnam. FamilyMart is perhaps the best one out of all the convenience stores in terms of sanitary and health products. You will see a wide selection of Japanese treats, snacks and foods as one would expect as well. Most Family Mart’s in Vietnam are based in Ho Chi Minh City due to the large Japanese community living there. For those who have not had the pleasure of visiting a FamilyMart in Japan this is surely the next best thing!

Official Conbeo Score

  • Convenience 8/10
  • Food selection 10/10
  • Air conditioning 10/10
  • Travel essentials 9/10

Total Score: 37/40

4.Seven-Eleven

Local vendors in Vietnam were far from being thrilled when they heard of 7-11’s intention to open up locations in Vietnam starting in 2017. The American chain has the intention of opening 100 stores in Vietnam in the next 3 years. Already they have appeared in the main tourist hot spots in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Hoi An. Of course the 7-11’s here are slightly more catered to the Vietnamese crowd  but other then that it is the same 7-11 that you find in most places in the world.  They even offer free wifi and certainly are sparing no electricity when it comes to air conditioning so if you need a place to cool down and check your email this is the place to do it.

Conbeo Official Score

  • Convenience 8/10
  • Food selection 5/10
  • Air conditioning 10/10
  • Travel essentials 9/10

Total Score: 32/40

Based on our scoring FamilyMart comes on top in the battle of the four major convenience stores in Vietnam. FamilyMart edges out the others in terms of food quality and selection of sanitary/skincare/healthcare and other products. Of course the difference between all of these convenience store’s is not that significant that we would advise against visiting any of them in particular. It is worth noting that out of the four store’s mention only Vinmart+ is owned by Vietnamese so if you want to assist in taking down international food chains in Vietnam by all means stick with them. It is worth noting the alcohol in all of these convenience stores is sold very cheap. It is not frowned upon to drink openly on the streets in Vietnam so if you prefer to hop into a convenience store and buy some beers there and sit outside with your friends in a park, that is more then welcome.

The Changing Landscape of Retail in Vietnam

The surge in convenience stores in particular foreign convenience stores is a clear sign of the changing times in Vietnam. No longer are the local street vendors ruling the retail market but instead have to compete with multi-billion dollar international companies for customers. This is definitely a worrying sign for the vasts amount of Vietnamese that have made a living of selling on the streets to sustain themselves and their families. Of course at the end of the day there is just very little that can be done to prevent development such as this as Vietnam continues to catch up with the western world.