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According to The NPD Group, the percentage of individuals who made a c-store purchase -- including gas and product purchases -- in an average 30-day period in the third quarter increased to 55.5 percent compared to 54 percent in the same quarter of 2012.
The Chicago-based research firm's Convenience Store Monitor found that traditional convenience retailers, small and independent chains, and major oil companies all experienced a notch-up in penetration. The database continually tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of approximately 50,000 convenience store shoppers in the United States.
Also on the positive side, both c-store traffic and reach grew in the third quarter of this year compared to the same quarter last year. Total product purchase visits to convenience stores in an average 30-day period were up 1 percent year over year, according to NPD.
On the other side of the coin, however, average number of visits made to a c-store in a 30-day period was 5.3, a decline from 5.4 in the third quarter of 2012. In addition, heavy discounting and product dealing contributed to an average check decrease in the quarter, which resulted in a decrease in total product sales in the period. The discounts and promotions did, though, resonate with shoppers and boosted impulse buying significantly year over year.
"The slow economic rebound still has consumers hesitant to spend, but they are responding to dealing," said April Moffa, NPD’s c-store industry analyst. "Opportunities exist to grow product purchases through increased impulse buying. Targeting key demographics, product offerings and strategic in-store placement are key to this growth."