Convenience Store Shoppers in the U.S.

Convenience Store – Consumer Profile U.S

According to research, 16% of Convenience stores in the United States currently focus on customer retention, and 14% focus on new customer acquisitions. After the lockdown began in the United States, more people in the country started to shop at Convenience stores and less at supermarkets to avoid crowding and observe hygiene.

Convenience Store Shoppers Profile

  • According to Lori Buss, the vice president of the National Association of Convenience Stores, about 15% of grocery shoppers are more likely to shop in Convenience stores. Consumers who used to shop at supermarkets are now going to convenience stores. Shoppers go to Convenience stores to buy drugs.
  • Factors that attract shoppers to the Convenience stores during the pandemic include the speed of services, extended hours of operation, quick-serve transactions, “one-stop-shop services,” and the grab and go foodservice.
  • During the pre-Covid time, shoppers used to visit the Convenience store physically to buy products. However, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, most customers now order online from the convenience stores. The demographic that is leading this trend are the millennials, as they practice caution. New customers of Convenience stores used to shop at supermarkets and hypermarkets before Covid-19 and now prefer Convenience stores close to their homes and less crowded.
  • Around 75% of consumers in the United States are trying new shopping behaviors in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, 40% of the United States consumers had decreased spending. The new customers in Convenience stores go shopping for essential products.
  • Shoppers are purchasing more grocery items, personal care products, and in-home entertainment from Convenience stores. People who shop at Convenience stores during the Covid-19 pandemic are those that need quick and easy services.
  • Shoppers who go to Convenience stores expect arrangements that promote social distancing, mobile-based self-checkout systems, and contactless payments at POS. Pre-Covid 19 shoppers visited Convenience stores to buy mostly cigarettes, gas, cold drinks, and lottery tickets. Now the busy consumers rely on the stores for a range of products, including prepared foods.
  • In 2020, the Convenience store loyalty members consist of 52% male and 48% female. Around 41% of loyal customers at Convenience stores in the United States are aged 25 years to 44 years old, and 27% have a bachelor’s degree and have children under 18 years of age.

Additional Insight

  • According to a report published on Oct 8, 2020, the total number of Convenience stores in the United States is over 150,000. Currently, the United States’ total sales in the Convenience store market is $648.8 billion, and $235.3 billion in the in-store sales.

Convenience Store U.S

The total spending on convenience stores grew by 3.2% in the first week of May 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown in the United States. Some changes observed at convenience stores include how the stores are adopting digital technologies, a shift in how the stores are operated as compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic, and an increase in beer and cigarette sales.

Changes In Convenience Stores

1. Online and Digital Adaptation

  • To reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States government advised against contact with surfaces and other humans, which pushed for the use of mobile and apps payments. Around 32% of convenience store shoppers stated that their smartphones had become a vital shopping tool since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Due to Covid-19, convenience stores across the United States have shifted to digital initiatives, including the “Scan and Go” method of payments. Convenience stores are now offering new services, including online shopping, home delivery services, pump side pickups, and drive-thru services, among others.
  • Convenience stores are now preparing for a post-covid world by implementing technology to upgrade and personalize the customers’ shopping experience. Convenience stores in the United States have adopted the last-mile logistics. DoorDash launched digital convenience stores called DashMarts in a number of markets in the United States.

2. The Shift in Purchase Patterns and Convenience Store Operation

  • During the Covid-19 lockdown, a majority of people of social media turned to baking and cooking. Eggs, which are not normally convenience store products, observed a 43.7% growth in sales in convenience stores. Butter sales increased by 49.4%, while dish care sales increased by 42% in convenience stores.
  • According to the NACS report, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, purchase sizes at convenience stores increased by 20% while trips to the convenience stores reduced by 12% as of mid-July. Shoppers are making fewer trips to the convenience stores but are spending more per visit. Fuel purchases at convenience stores reduced significantly after the lockdown was effected in the United States.
  • According to Statista, 51% of convenience stores in the United States suspended in-store dining, 12% implemented delivery services, 44% suspended self-serve programs, 39% changed self-serve services to clerk-served, and 15% “pivoted to curbside pick-up” as of June 17, 2020.
  • Around 60% of American shoppers stated that store cleanliness was vital for them to shop at a convenience store, 50% would shop at a convenience store depending on the food quality, 31% depending on the quality of service, and 26% for overall convenience. Convenience stores in the United States cut back on foodservice and restaurant operations in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. About 66% of the stores closed public dining and seating areas.

3. Increased Sales of Beer and Cigarettes

  • During the pandemic, convenience stores have observed an increase in beer and cigarette sales, according to the Nielsen report. Most shoppers at convenience stores bought premium beers and premium cigarettes, followed by imported beer, smokeless tobacco, then e-cigarettes.
  • Convenience stores made around $78 million more from selling premium beers, $77 million from imported beer, $97 million from premium cigarettes, $35 million from smokeless products, and $33 million from e-cigarettes when lockdown begun in the United States than what they made pre-Covid-19.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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