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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — When analyzing shopper preferences regarding convenience stores, it's not just factors like income, region and gender that are strongly influential. According to the exclusive Convenience Store News 2015 Realities of the Aisle consumer research study, age also makes a significant difference in c-store shopping habits.
Overall, today's consumers willingly embrace the convenience factor. While the very youngest and oldest age groups surveyed visit c-stores with somewhat less frequency, a majority of other consumers make a habit of stopping by. Those aged 25-34 are most likely to visit a c-store several times a week (68.3 percent), followed by those aged 35-44 (65.4 percent) and 45-54 (60.6 percent).
More than a quarter of those aged 25-34 visit a c-store almost every day, while 34 percent of those aged 18-24 visit about once a week.
Younger consumers are the most location-loyal, with three-quarters of those aged 18-24 indicating they typically visit the same c-store each time. The least loyal age group is 35-44, yet a majority still visit the same store at 66.4 percent. Location of their chosen store is a major consideration factor across all age groups.
Interestingly, all consumers are less likely to carry that loyalty through to a loyalty program — but this is partially due to lack of availability. About a quarter of all age groups are enrolled in their usual store's loyalty program if one is available, with those aged 25-34 reporting the highest rate of enrollment at 33.4 percent.
Consumers aged 18-24 are the most likely to say their store does not offer a loyalty program and they would not enroll in such a program even if it existed (29.4 percent), while nearly half of those aged 45-54 say they would enroll in a loyalty program if their store offered it (49.1 percent).
Although a majority of all consumers do not use the extra services offered at c-stores, age does make a difference in those who do.
ATM is the most popular service, with 47.4 percent of those aged 25-34 reporting they use it, and 36 percent or more of most other age groups saying the same. Those aged 55-plus are significantly less likely to use a c-store ATM, with only 19 percent doing so.
The next most popular services are car wash, used most frequently by those 25-34 (25.1 percent) and 18-24 (21.6 percent), and DVD rentals, most often used by those 18-24 (18.6 percent).
Overall, younger consumers aged 18-24 are the most likely to use some kind of extra service, with only 35.1 percent saying they do not use any. Older consumers aged 55-plus are the least likely to use extra services, with 67.1 percent saying they do not use any of the listed options, followed by those aged 45-54 at 52.4 percent.
Editor's note: For more findings from the exclusive Convenience Store News 2015 Realities of the Aisle consumer research study, look in the February issue of Convenience Store News. A digital edition of the issue can be accessed by clicking here.