NATIONAL REPORT — This past fall, Convenience Store News surveyed our readers to make sure we are on the pulse in regards to the information that is most important to you, and the way you want it delivered. Consumer insights/trends repeatedly appeared at the top of the list as the most important content for helping our readers be more effective at work.
For the past eight years now, CSNews has been taking our readers inside the minds of convenience store shoppers with our annual Realities of the Aisle consumer study. This year’s research analyzes the differences between frequent c-store shoppers — those who shop at a convenience store on a daily or weekly basis — and shoppers who visit c-stores less than once a week.
Of the 1,500 consumers surveyed for the eighth-annual CSNews Realities of the Aisle study, 64.4 percent qualified for the "frequent shopper" label, shopping at a c-store on a daily or weekly basis. Men are more likely to fall into this group at 67.8 percent, vs. 59.6 percent of women.
Looking at other characteristics, frequent c-store shoppers are most often found in the 45- to 54-year-old age range (68 percent); the $75,000-$99,999 and $35,000-or-less income ranges (66 percent and 65.9 percent, respectively); and in the Northeast (68.8 percent). Among shoppers with children, 66 percent are in a c-store daily or weekly, compared to 63.2 percent of those without kids.
Along with making c-store visits part of their regular routine, frequent shoppers are more loyal to particular c-stores. Sixty-four percent of daily/weekly shoppers typically visit the same c-store each time, compared to 61 percent of monthly shoppers. Daily shoppers are the most loyal segment, as seven in 10 say they typically return to the same store every time.
Purchasing beverages (packaged or dispensed) and purchasing gasoline are the most common reasons to shop at a c-store, according to total respondents. The vast majority of all consumers CSNews surveyed — and 100 percent of daily c-store shoppers — listed these as top reasons.
Frequent shoppers, however, listed purchasing snacks as a top reason more often than infrequent shoppers did, at 70.1 percent compared to 58.4 percent. This pattern was also seen with bottled/canned soda (56.2 percent vs. 44.4 percent); fountain/frozen beverages (50.5 percent vs. 36.9 percent); hot beverages (48.9 percent vs. 36.2 percent); candy/gum (45.1 percent vs. 34 percent); and prepared food/fast food for immediate consumption (43.7 percent vs. 23.7 percent).
When asked how much they spent during their last in-store visit to a c-store (excluding fuel purchases), frequent shoppers averaged $16.22, compared to $14.12 for infrequent shoppers. This figure for daily shoppers was even higher, averaging $19.45 on their last visit.
For more findings of the 2017 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle consumer study, look in the special “Guide to Consumer Insights” section of the February issue.