C-stores are seeing a rise in consumer spending in recent months due to reasons like proximity, convenience and safety. However, as consumers’ buying behavior changes, they are also demanding for more available products – not just shelf stable items – indicating a wave of opportunities coming for the channel.
Consumer Rise in Spending and Demand
Convenience stores’ total spending boosted by 3.2% in the month of May. One reason for this increase in spending is proximity. Consumers continue shopping closer to home and are trying to avoid large crowds in big food-retailers like supermarkets to eliminate the risk of exposure to the virus. At the same time, consumers feel safer and find value in shopping in convenience stores. And, while some grocery stores are cutting their hours or adjusting their schedule to accommodate certain shoppers, convenience stores in local locations are open for longer hours.
Before the Coronavirus era, consumers were not seen buying consumer packaged goods (CPG) in convenience stores; however, the pandemic is slowly changing the trend. Food products in a few categories like eggs and butter are selling better or at par in C-stores than in other channels.
Due to a shift in buying behavior, consumers are now demanding more product offerings aside from traditional items sold in the channel to fill their everyday needs. Products like baking staples, cleaning products, and meats, which showed an upward trend in sales across the U.S. over the past few months, could be integrated into the C-store supply chain and inventory to meet the everyday CPG needs of their consumers.
This current trend could also be a great opportunity for C-stores to step up in diversifying their products and categories, offering more items that are valuable to consumers at this time. Also, this is an avenue for C-stores to improve their strategies in merchandising with quality equipment like display cases and door reach-ins that will save them cost, improve their bottom lines and answer their customers’ needs.
As the Coronavirus pandemic evolves and some states are still in lockdown or in some phase of reopening, a lot of consumers are now preferring to go to convenience stores rather than other bigger retail stores for their daily essentials. From pantry staples to hygiene products, the C-store channel is poised to get a better advantage in the food-retail industry amid this health crisis.