As consumer shopping habits evolve, convenience stores (c-stores) continue to fill the needs of busy shopper lifestyles. According to a research report from EnsembleIQ’s Convenience Store News, the leading source for c-store industry business intelligence, 67% of shoppers visit a c-store once a week or more, a two-point increase from last year.
“This year’s findings highlight how important the concept of convenience is to consumers. Convenience stores remain far ahead of almost every other store type when it comes to retaining frequent shoppers,” said Don Longo, Editorial Director of Convenience Store News. “While convenience store shoppers tend to be creatures of habit, it’s more important than ever for convenience stores to meet the evolving needs of shoppers.”
Consumers show strong loyalty to their favorite c-store brand. Seven-in-ten shop at the same c-store brand and location with 93% of this group doing so most of the time.
Today’s c-store shoppers find the price of products (53%), products they need being in stock (41%) and variety of products offered (30%) important.
Sixty-four percent of shoppers spent less than $15 (excluding gas) on their visit and most used cash or a debit card to make a purchase.
C-stores are consumers preferred choice of store for a wide range of products including dispensed beverages, candy/gum, cigarettes, other tobacco products and beer/malt beverages.
C-stores are the preferred location for consumers to fill up their gas tanks. When deciding where to stop for gasoline, price and a convenient location drive purchase decisions for 85% of shoppers.
The top services tried at c-stores are mobile-related with 73% of consumers using mobile pay. Drive-thru also ranks at the top of services most likely to use if it was available at a c-store.
Only 10% of c-store shoppers own an electric vehicle, but of those that do, they believe c-stores should provide charging stations. Among this group, 70% consider it important for c-stores to have a charging station.
CBD product sales are growing at c-stores. Twenty-nine percent of shoppers purchased CBD products in the past month and 15% bought them at a c-store. Sweet formulations are most popular with more than four-in-ten buying CBD gummies, followed by 26% purchasing chocolate.
The 2022 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle Study was fielded in January 2022. Responses were gathered from 1,510 convenience store shoppers. In order to qualify, respondents were required to be aged 18 and older, reside in the United States, and shop at convenience stores at least once a month.