C-store Beverage Sales Show Strong Momentum in Q3 2022

The latest Beverage Bytes survey finds retailers expect energy drinks to see sustained double-digit growth.
A c-store shopper

NEW YORK — Convenience store beverage sales were up 12 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2022, according to a new survey from Goldman Sachs.

Overall, retailers in the company's third quarter Beverage Bytes survey expect the strong momentum in beverage sales growth to continue, with expectations for beverage sales to increase 9 percent next year in the channel, said Bonnie Herzog, managing director at Goldman Sachs.

"That said, retailer sentiment remains broadly cautious given concerns around inflation and high gas prices," she added.

Other notable takeaways from the Q3 survey include:

  • Out-of-stocks remain a headwind in the alcohol and non-alcohol segments, though to a lesser degree than prior surveys, with the majority of retailers noting a sequential improvement;
  • Retailers indicated that pricing across both the alcohol and non-alcohol beverages have increased significantly in 2022 and most expect further price increases in 2023;
  • Retailers' outlook for the energy drink category is very positive, with expectations for sustained double-digit growth in 2022 and 2023;
  • Beer/flavored malt beverage sales growth in c-stores were up a modest 3 percent in Q3, and retailers expect future category growth to remain stable next year; and
  • Hard seltzer sales declined 2 percent year over year the third quarter and retailers only expect a modest recovery in 2023.

"Overall, we are broadly optimistic heading into Q3 earnings as we expect strong topline growth, reflecting strong pricing and resilient underlying volume trends as we have yet to see any significant changes in consumer elasticities," Herzog said. "That said, the challenging cost environment will likely continue to pressure gross margins, albeit to a lesser extent than second quarter, as commodity pricing has modestly improved lately."