Here’s Why Taiwan’s Convenience Stores are Popular

Taiwanese convenience stores are popular because they offer a one-stop solution for most errands. Read on to learn how.

Taiwan has 1 convenience store per 1,582 people (I’m one of them). Once you’re done reading, you’ll know why so many people love them.


Key Takeaways

  • Taiwan has 1 convenience store per 1,582 people.
  • The country has more than 13,000 convenience stores.
  • They have between 6,631 and 6,712 7-Eleven stores.
  • More than 4,100 Family Mart locations.
  • Over 1,542 Hi-Life stores.
  • There are more than 900 OKmart stores.

Why are Taiwan’s Convenience Stores Unlike Any Others?

They’re popular because they will fulfill most Taiwanese people’s needs. They provide food, the ability to pay bills, ATMs, and are accessible 24/7. Thus, if someone’s getting off a graveyard shift and needs to mail a package, they can do so.

I can’t speak for people in the countryside. But I’d imagine these stores are a godsend in many scenarios. For instance, some areas have ‘convenience vans.’ Or mobile convenience stores. Like the EV-powered FamiMobi.

Here’s a video showcasing 7-Eleven’s convenience store van:

Sometimes, they’re the only means for countryside folk to do stuff like mail packages without going to a nearby town.


Taiwan: Convenience Store Paradise

If you’re not a numbers person, keep moving.

Otherwise, here are some cool statistics:

  • Taiwan has 1 convenience store per 1,703 people.
  • Convenience stores are the largest grocery distribution channel in Taiwan, at $9.8 billion (USD) in market size.
  • Experts expect this number to rise to $13 billion.
  • 7-Eleven has the highest market share of around 60% [1 info. from 2022].
  • Taiwan has over 13,000 convenience stores (in 2021) [2]. This number is likely much higher by now.
  • 7-Eleven’s CAGR is 6.9% compared to PX mart’s (supermarket) 3.6%.
  • Convenience stores broke sales records in 2023 with NT$413 billion ($13 billion USD).
  • Beverages (including alcohol) and tobacco account for 60% of their sales.

The actual number of convenience stores is confusing. Some sources state that Taiwan has one store per 1,703 people (mostly news websites). But the government, who got their information from Mirai Business Research Institute, states that it’s per 1,582 people.

When doing some math, the number seems closer to the “1,703” claim. Considering Taiwan’s population of around 23.9 million people in 2024.


The Major Players: Convenience Store Chains in Taiwan

7-ElevenFamily MartHi-LifeOKmart
Locations6,631–6,712+4,100+1,542+900+
First Opened in TW1978198819891988
HQUSAJapanTaiwanTaiwan
Package Delivery/PickupYesYesYesYes
“Eat-In” SpaceYesYesSometimesSometimes
Market Share59.7%29.8%8%2.5%
Taiwanese convenience stores list

* Note: the 6,712 came from Statista, which doesn’t state WHERE they got that number. The former number is from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Taiwan). The market share information is from 2022. I couldn’t find updated numbers.

All convenience stores in Taiwan remain open 24/7. Want alcohol at 2 AM? Go to a convenience store. How about ice cream at 4 AM? Same scenario.


1. 7-Eleven

They operate under President Chain Store Corporation (Uni-President). This matters if you intend to use their Open Point reward system, which isn’t fantastic.

You’ll find many themed Sevens throughout Taiwan. See how many you can find in each city. Taipei City has 7-Eleven “X. A staff-less store that’s nice to hang out in for around 20 minutes.

sign of a regular 711
Pay attention to what’s on the sign. Some will say they have restrooms.

All stores have great-tasting coffee that uses beans from Guatemala. I don’t want to say the price because it’ll likely change when you read this. If you’re a fan of nitro cold brew, some locations will have these drinks (like 7-Eleven “X”).

Many Taiwanese will say “Seven” to refer to 7-Eleven. Even when speaking Mandarin.

Otherwise, you’ll see 7-11 or 7-Eleven Lifestyle Center (large 7-Elevens).

I recommend trying all foods that fit within your diet. Their tea eggs are the cheapest snack and taste great. Otherwise, try their lattes—their oat milk lattes also taste great. I don’t care for their bread, but your taste buds will differ.

So try it.

Let’s check out important features and information about Seven for tourists, visitors, and expats.


Accepted payment methods.

Here are all the payment methods they accept—they didn’t mention cash, but they take it:

payment methods accepted at 7-Eleven, Taiwan.

Some stores will accept credit cards. But they don’t specify which. I always use an EasyCard for smaller transactions, then cash when paying for my health insurance bill.

If you’re using an EasyCard, show them your card. They’ll tell or guide you toward the card reader.


ibon Kiosk.

ibon Kiosks look like ATMs but give you more features like:

  • English and Chinese language support
  • Buy train tickets and entry for other current events
  • Print pictures and documents from external storage devices
  • Scan documents
ibon kiosk, 7-eleven, taiwan
What ibon Kiosks will look like.

Want to print something? Someone made a great visual guide on the order to tap each page to print your picture or document.

You’ll need to ask the staff to turn on the printer if you want to print documents.

You can try to ask them in English or stand around and look awkward until someone notices you (like what I do).

Or…

Say the following phrase in Mandarin Chinese to ask the staff to unlock a printer:

“我要影印:” Wǒ yào yǐng yìn (I want a photocopy).

Or you can go to the counter and show them the Chinese text I typed.

They’ll likely respond with “OK.” From there, follow the prompts on the ibon and print (or scan) your documents.

Whenever you print or scan documents, the ibon will print a receipt. Once you’re ready to pay, take this receipt to the clerk. They’ll know to scan it.

Most ibon features are in Chinese except for document printing and buying prepaid SIM cards. Are these SIM cards worth it? Not really.

But if you’re desperate for a SIM card, they’re NT$350 for 5 days of unlimited 4G data. You’ll also get NT$50 worth of voice (calling) credits. Here’s all the information from ibon Mobile’s website in English.


7-Eleven ATMs

Every 7-Eleven has an ATM to give you the means to withdraw cash. Depending on your bank, they will charge a NT$150 ATM fee.

Unlike Japan’s Seven Bank ATMs, Taiwan’s counterpart machines don’t give the best value for currency exchange. Regardless, they’re convenient if you don’t want to visit a Bank of Taiwan ATM.

I mentioned this bank specifically because they offer the best exchange rates.


Icash 2.0 Smart Card

icash is an integrated circuit (IC) card that functions like Taiwan’s EasyCard, except only 7-Eleven uses it.

You can buy regular cards, or you can purchase customized cards shaped like cute mascots.

I don’t recommend getting this card unless you intend to live in Taiwan. Because the actual value comes from accumulating points to use on Taiwan’s Open Point system. However, sometimes they offer cool-looking cards that make for excellent souvenirs.

Cafe PRIMA icash 2.0 card
3D icash 2.0 card.

The only convenience stores you can use icash with are 7-Eleven and Hi-Life.

But you can buy a 2-in-1 EasyCard and icash 2.0 at 7-Eleven stores. Then it’s usable anywhere. You can still use the icash for most public transportation throughout Taiwan.

I used it for a while, but I found it inconvenient because I couldn’t rent YouBikes with it.


Open Point

Only useful for people living in Taiwan.

Open Point is a rewards program that allows you to collect points from qualifying purchases at certain stores. Exchange these points for free drinks, discounted products, and more.

I mentioned Uni-President. They’re a conglomerate that operates various stores in Taiwan, including Starbucks and Mister Donut.

I’m an Open Point member and always forget to have the clerk scan my barcode. I did it a lot at first, but after seeing the uninspiring rewards, I stopped.


2. Family Mart / 全家

There’s not much to say about Family Mart (全家 or Quánjiā). They’re just like 7-Eleven but with some differences.

themed family mart, taipei, taiwan
Themed Family Mart.

They do have kiosks that function identically to 7-Eleven’s ibon machines. So, there’s not much to say about them.

I recommend Family Mart’s soft-serve ice cream. It’s some of the best I’ve had in Taiwan, and many locals I’ve spoken to also agree. However, it appears that it’s hard to find Family Marts with soft-serve machines outside of Taipei City.

Check behind the cash registers for ice cream machines to know whether they serve soft-serve.

ice cream at family mart, gongguan, taipei, taiwan
I recommend getting it in a cup. The cone isn’t spectacular.

Depending on the month, you can find flavors like cactus, oolong tea, and more when you try their ice cream.


Accepted payment methods

Family Marts across Taiwan accept these payment methods:

EasyCardiPASS* Credit cardsMy FamiPay
LINE PayEasyWalletTaiwan PayJKOPAYGAMA PAY
AlipayWeChat PayGLNTaishin Pay
Yushan WalletO’PayFamiWallet
Payment methods that Family Mart (Taiwan) accepts.

* It seems like Family Mart only accepts credit cards from these banks:

payment methods accepted at Family mart in Taiwan

Here’s what you can pay for with each payment method.

I usually use my EasyCard for cashless transactions at Family Mart. If I pay for my health insurance, I’ll use cash.


Laundromat

In 2019, Family Mart opened its first shop in Taiwan with a laundry service. It operates like an average laundromat at the back of the store.

They use all-in-one washers and dryers, as opposed to separate appliances.

If you have the FamilyMart mobile app, you can receive SMS notifications about your laundry. No having to wait around the store and stare at your laundry.

This additional functionality comes at a cost. You’ll need to pay NT$190 ($6.69) per 30 minutes for washing alone [3]. And NT$220 ($7.74) for washing and drying for 60 minutes.

These are self-service machines. Thus, no one will touch your laundry.


3. Hi-Life / 萊爾富

You won’t find as many of Hi-Lifes (萊爾富 or Lái ěr fù)as other convenience stores. Yet, they provide a fair number of services. Like the ability to pay for bills, hot food, mailing and receiving packages, ATMs, and fresh drinks.


4. OKmart / OK超商

Initially, Taiwan’s OKmart (來來超商 or Láilái chāo shāng) or OK mart cooperated with Circle K in the US. After not renewing the brand authorization, OKmart separated. It’s not under the Lai Lai Super Merchant Circle K’s trademark.

ok mart in taipei taiwan

They have nothing that makes them unique compared to 7-Eleven and Family Mart. Occasionally, they’ll have Pols (Latvian ice cream) when Seven and Family Mart don’t. It’s incredible ice cream.

Pols ice cream in Taiwan
It’s expensive, but totally worth it.

Credit: Forumosa


Taiwan Takes Convenience Stores to The Next Level

Here’s everything that you can do at convenience stores throughout Taiwan:

  • Shop for everyday items: Snacks, drinks, basic toiletries, magazines, over-the-counter medicine, stationery, and more.
  • Grab hot Food: From fresh meals to oden, steamed buns, tea eggs, and even regional specialties.
  • Pay bills: You can pay a wide variety of bills, including utility bills, credit card bills, traffic tickets, and even tuition fees.
  • Use an ATM: Most stores have ATMs for withdrawing cash, often with connections to international banks for travelers.
  • Print, copy, and fax: Many stores offer these services.
  • Ship and pick up packages: Send packages domestically. You can also pick up online purchases at the stores.
  • Buy tickets: Get tickets for concerts, sporting events, and some popular attractions.
    • Transportation tickets include planes, Taiwan High-Speed Rail, Taiwan Railway Association, and buses.
  • Free Wi-Fi: Some stores offer access to Wi-Fi hotspots.
    • Some will require you to sign up for their membership program.
  • Public restrooms: Watch for the restroom sign outside the store.
  • Order specialty coffee: High-end coffee drinks with freshly ground beans.
    • Consider trying this over Starbucks.
  • Free air conditioning: Extremely useful on a scorching day.
  • Top-off IC cards: Add value to and check the balance of integrated circuit (IC) cards like EasyCard.
  • Buy SIM cards: They’re expensive but an option.
  • Recycle: Turn in batteries, old electronics (e.g., phone), glass bottles, and CDs for in-store credit.
  • Work: Few convenience stores offer coworking booth rentals.

I typically use convenience stores as recovery spots when I’m out and about on a hot day. Otherwise, I’ll use them to pick up iHerb purchases, pay my health insurance, and print stuff. They’re also a convenient way to ship packages without going to the post office.

You’ll usually find free seats. However, folks often like to go there to drink beer or sleep, and the staff doesn’t seem to care.

1. Misc. Products

Seven and Family Mart will often have branded products alongside international and local brands. Most of these products will cost around the same or more than you’d pay at a hypermarket (e.g., PX Mart).

2. Cold Drinks

They don’t have Gatorade. If you need those precious electrolytes, opt for Pocari Sweat or Supau. The latter is typically cheaper because it’s a local brand. Otherwise, they have an overwhelming amount of bottled tea and coffee.

3. Snacks & Refrigerated Food

You’ll find plenty of snacks like chips and instant noodles (which you can make in-store). Need gum? They have brands from various countries.

Then, they have the refrigerated sections. These have fresh foods like onigiri, sesame noodles, sandwiches, and more. You’ll find plenty of microwavable pasta- or rice-based dishes. Often, the staff will ask you (in Mandarin) if you want it microwaved.

I’ve run into dreaded scenarios where they don’t ask. Thus, I needed to step up and say “加熱 / Jiá rè.” This is telling them you want to microwave your food. This is what you should tell them as well.

Add “Gěi wǒ de kuàizi.” to say you want chopsticks. However, most of the time, they’ll just give you chopsticks.

Let me know if you’re Taiwanese and have more “preferred” ways regarding people asking for these. This information comes from my experiences.


Taiwan’s Got Themed Convenience Stores? Yup

As you wander through Taiwan, you’ll find various themed convenience stores that give visitors excellent photographic displays.

In almost every case, it’s 7-Eleven that has themed stores.

Throughout my time in Taiwan, I’ve found 7-Elevens with the following themes:

  • Hello Kitty: Adorned with Hello Kitty stuff
  • Coca-Cola: It looked like a ’60s American Diner
  • 7-Eleven X: An almost staffless 7-Eleven that has self-checkouts, a gated entrance, and other cool stuff
  • Mickey Mouse: Pictures and displays of Mickey Mouse spread throughout the shop
  • Snoopy: You guessed it, Peanuts and Snoopy dolls, statues, images, and more
Ku tours 18 themed convenience stores in Taiwan.

These themed stores don’t offer anything special most of the time other than a unique experience. Though, some will have merchandise based on their collaboration.

There’s not much else to say about convenience stores. If you’re in Taiwan, you will likely frequently visit them.


FAQs

How Do I Get My Package From 7-Eleven in Taiwan?

Show the clerk the message you received stating that your package arrived in Taiwan. Also, write down or tell the staff your Taiwan phone number.