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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- On the cover of every issue of Convenience Store News is our tagline, "Keeping the Industry Ahead of What's Next." In that spirit, our editors have brainstormed what we believe are the 14 key trends that will define and shape the convenience store industry in 2014.
Some are trends that will bring new challenges to the industry, such as the decrease in mobility that is happening as technology makes it easier for people to shop and connect without ever leaving their house; or the movement to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21, which will put great strain on a category already limping under immense pressure.
Some are trends that will bring new opportunities to the industry, such as the influx of mobile consumers who are driving adoption of mobile apps, mobile payments and more. The way Americans are consuming food and beverages now -- constantly grazing and constantly on the go -- also means more occasions for c-stores to capture their business with the right offering.
Still other trends are a sign of how far this industry has come. For instance, c-stores are gaining serious credibility not only with consumers, but also in the retail industry where they are being viewed as a major threat by competitors -- and as a result, are being imitated and borrowed from. Likewise, the convenience store industry could soon be known as the convenience restaurant industry as more operators deliver foodservice items rivaling the best quick-service and fast-casual restaurants.
What all 14 of these trends have in common, though, is that they illustrate the growing number of moving parts convenience retailers must juggle in order to be successful today, tomorrow and in the year ahead. Staying ahead is a requirement for staying in business.
CSNews' full list of 14 Trends for 2014 is:
- Driving in Decline
- The C-store Image Tipping Point
- The Living Wage Movement
- New Hotspots for Growth
- The Upscaling of C-stores
- It's Obamacare Decision Time
- Alternative Fuels Come Into Focus
- The Mobile Consumer
- The "Age " of Tobacco
- Energy Saturation
- Segmenting the Customer Segments
- Just the Tip of Tobacco Innovation
- Coming Soon: The Convenience Restaurant Industry?
For details on each trend, look in the January issue of Convenience Store News.