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EUGENE, Ore. — Thirty-six percent of shoppers purchased groceries from a convenience store in the past 12 months, with the most likely group to do so being rural, female millennials ("young country gals"), according to the 2015 installment of King Retail Solutions' annual consumer research study on U.S. shoppers.
Although c-stores ranked a strong third behind big-box retailers and pharmacies regarding where consumers are most comfortable buying groceries other than a supermarket, the 36-percent figure was a 7-percent decline compared to last year's inaugural King Retail Solutions survey.
The 2015 study included 1,200 consumers nationwide, with one-third of respondents from each of these three categories: millennials, generation X and baby boomers. Half of the respondents were female and half male.
The research also concluded that 18 percent of shoppers had purchased a fresh-prepared meal from convenience stores in the past 12 months, while 10 percent of shoppers purchased a service from a convenience store. The 18 percent of consumers buying a fresh-prepared meal from a c-store was a decline of 10 percent vs. King Retail Solutions' survey last year.
Studied in-depth in this year's survey was 7-Eleven Inc., which emerged as the ninth most-popular place to buy a prepared meal that is not a restaurant. According to the study, consumers look for these aspects — in order of importance — the most when choosing where to buy fresh-prepared meals: quality, cost, convenience and selection.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven also ranked as the 13th most-popular place to purchase groceries that is not a traditional grocery store. QuikTrip Corp. did not rank as an overall top-20 destination, but the survey did point out that Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip made the top 20 regarding where millennials are most likely to purchase their groceries other than a supermarket.
Consumers listed these aspects when considering purchasing groceries, in order of importance: cost, convenience, quality and access to non-grocery items.
INSIGHTS ON DIGITAL SHOPPING
The research also looked at several other pieces of data, including cell phone usage and on a related topic, attitudes toward in-store mobile tracking.
Results revealed that 80 percent of women, 70 percent of men, 68 percent of baby boomers, 77 percent of gen Xers and 83 percent of millennials own a smartphone. Among those who own a smartphone, two-thirds have at least one shopping-related app.
Regarding in-store mobile tracking, 17 percent of respondents said "I'm all for it," with another 35 percent offering an "I'm fine with it" answer.
Conversely, 24 percent of those surveyed said "I'm fine with it but I don't want retailers pushing notifications to my phone," with an equal 24 percent responding simply "I don't like it."
Eugene-based King Retail Solutions is a provider of retail store design, manufacturing, distribution, installation and complete program management services to a wide array of clients.