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    Cold Vault

    HEY, BIG SPENDERS: Beer/malt beverage purchasers who shop from 4 p.m.–6.59 p.m. spend more than those at other times of day. For packaged beverage purchasers, the biggest spenders shop in the late morning (9 a.m.–10:59 a.m.).

    Even as some categories exist in a state of flux, the cold vault remains a top destination for convenience store customers. Survey respondents frequently cited “to buy beverages” as a top reason they shop at c-stores, but the specifics of what they stop in for remain varied.

    Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) are the top draw, with more than half of consumers reporting a purchase (52 percent), followed by bottled water (36 percent) and energy drinks (23 percent). While women are more likely than men to buy CSDs, bottled water and fruit juice, around 23 percent of both genders buy energy drinks, indicating the segment is not as male-dominated as many believe.

    The majority of shoppers purchase packaged beverages at a c-store multiple times per month, with 22.5 percent making two purchases a month and 20 percent making five to nine purchases. Only 16 percent of survey respondents made one purchase only.

    Despite the high number of purchases, consumers aren’t spending big at the cold vault: 24 percent spent $5 to $9 in a month, with nearly as many spending less than $5. Not surprisingly, lower income customers were more likely to spend less than high income, and vice versa.

    Only 40 percent of consumers said they bought beer or malt beverages at a c-store in the last month, likely reflecting the varying state restrictions on alcohol sales. Men were by 10 percentage points more likely than women to make a c-store beer/malt beverage purchase.

    Consumers buy beer and malt beverages at c-stores with similar frequency to nonalcoholic beverages, with 24 percent making two purchases, 17 percent making five to nine purchases and 17 percent making only one purchase. Men tended to make more purchases than women, and were significantly more likely to make five to nine purchases (20 percent vs. 13 percent).

    Reflecting the higher price of alcohol, consumers who bought beer and malt beverages at a c-store were most likely to spend $50 to $99 (18 percent), $30 to $49 (17.2 percent) or $20 to $24 (13 percent) in a month. Those who earn $100,000 or more in income each year still kept their spending moderate. Consumers at the second-highest income level were significantly more likely to spend $25 to $29 or $50 to $54 each month.

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