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NATIONAL REPORT — When it comes to the top reasons consumers shop at a convenience store, purchasing a snack ranks in the top three, trailing only behind purchasing beverages and buying fuel.
Nearly 66 percent of the consumers surveyed for this year’s CSNews Realities of the Aisle study say they shop at a c-store to buy snacks, compared to 98 percent who frequent c-stores to buy beverages (both packaged and dispensed), and 80 percent who do so to fuel up.
For shoppers in the 18-24 age range, however, buying a snack is even more of a convenience store trip driver — 73 percent of these shoppers cite it as their reason for going.
When asked about their c-store purchases in the past month, nearly 63 percent of all the shoppers CSNews surveyed indicated they made a purchase in at least one of the four snack segments tracked in the study: salty snacks, sweet snacks, meat snacks, and energy/nutrition bars.
And among frequent c-store shoppers (daily and weekly visitors), a whopping 70.1 percent made a snack purchase, significantly higher than infrequent c-store shoppers (at 58.4 percent).
Of the snack segments tracked, packaged salty snacks are the most popular snack purchase, with 45.9 percent of total respondents crunching away. Salty snacks are purchased by more than 50 percent of shoppers aged 35-54, and a majority of shoppers with children in the household.
Packaged sweet snacks are more popular among women than men (40.6 percent vs. 31.7 percent purchasing, respectively). Additionally, shoppers aged 35-44 are the most likely to make this purchase (at 42.9 percent) than consumers in any other bracket.
Retailers will find male shoppers in the meat snacks aisle, where they are more likely to make a purchase than females (23.2 percent vs. 18.8 percent, respectively). Regionally, meat snacks are the most popular c-store snack purchase in the Midwest and West regions of the U.S.
Energy/nutrition bars, purchased by 11.9 percent of the total, also draw more male buyers than female. This type of snack, often perceived as "better-for-you," is also more popular among the highest income group earning $100,000 or more a year.