Beverage News / Channel Strategies

Convenience store shopping increases during holiday season

Consumers are more likely to buy a drink at a c-store while holiday shopping

December 12, 2013
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As consumers rush to finish their holiday shopping, they say they will rely more on convenience stores for beverages and snacks, stocking stuffers, party items and cash from ATMs, according to a consumer survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), Alexandria, Va.

Nearly one in three consumers (31 percent) say that they plan to buy coffee and other beverages from convenience stores more often while shopping this holiday season. Younger consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are most likely to grab a quick snack or beverage at convenience stores, with 51 percent of them saying they plan to buy drinks more often at convenience stores while shopping this holiday season.

"Convenience stores sell 80 percent of the gas purchased in the country, and we are increasingly seeing customers filling up at the pump and then grabbing a quick snack or drink inside to save time and avoid additional stops, especially with the compressed holiday shopping season this year," said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard in a statement.
 
Retailers also say that they have significantly expanded their healthy choice selections in 2013, with 49 percent adding or expanding their health bar selection and 39 percent adding or expanding their fresh fruit and vegetable selections. Water also is popular, with 67 percent of retailers stocking more enhanced waters and 61 percent stocking more bottled waters.

Convenience stores also will be a popular destination for those planning holiday parties.  Twenty-one percent of consumers say that they will be shopping more often at convenience stores to pick up items like wine, beer and snacks that they need for parties that they are attending or hosting. Of consumers aged 18 to 34, 39 percent say they will be stocking up at convenience stores for parties they are hosting, and 37 percent plan to buy items at these retail venues for parties they are attending this holiday season.  

"Convenience stores serve more than half of the U.S. population — 160 million customers — on a daily basis,” Lenard said in a statement. “They offer consumers that quick and hassle-free break from holiday shopping, and consumers are increasingly taking advantage of this convenience as part of their shopping experience. Younger consumers, in particular, are filling their one-stop shopping needs by filling up their cars, grabbing a snack or gift, and getting what they need to quickly get on their way."

For more information about consumers’ holiday shopping habits, visit www.nacsonline.com.

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