What Retail Apocalypse? New Study Reveals Younger Generations Are Fueling the YoY Growth of In-Store Sales at U.S. Convenience Stores

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GasBuddy study finds 18-44 year olds prefer shopping at c-stores for their packaged goods over drug-and-warehouse stores, 74% make purchases at c-stores at least once a month

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“More than ever, snack and beverage brands need to be top-of-mind for consumers before they visit. Otherwise they'll get lost in the crowd,” said Beard.

On-demand. One-stop-shop. All-in-one. Now. Americans need for instant gratification and convenience continues to grow, led by the younger generations. While traditional retail chain brick-and-mortar stores have struggled, the U.S. convenience store industry is thriving, experiencing 16 straight years of record in-store sales reaching $242 billion in 2018.* GasBuddy, the only smartphone app connecting drivers to their Perfect Pit Stop, today released a new study exploring what is “fueling” the success of gas station c-stores across the nation.

CPG + C-Store = Millennial Heaven
Convenience stores beat out drug and warehouse stores by double when consumers were asked where they prefer to purchase their packaged good items like snacks and beverages; the 18-29 age group has the strongest preference for c-stores versus all other age groups.

According to the survey, 66% of respondents said they make purchases at a convenience store at least once a month, while 38% said at least once a week. The most popular items that consumers “often” or “very often” purchase at a c-store are: sweet snacks (55%), beverages (52%) and salty snacks (52%).

“The original on-demand commerce, c-stores are in the business of selling time, making it the first-mile and last-mile choice for millions of Americans,” said Frank Beard, convenience store analyst for GasBuddy. “It's no surprise that they're meeting the needs of younger generations who crave ease and immediacy.”

Impulsive Buys Run Rampant at C-Stores
While the pit stops may be intentional, in-store purchases are often not. Twenty four percent of consumers said they made an unplanned in-store purchase the last time they stopped for gas, while 57% said they have done so within the past month.

In fact, GasBuddy’s footfall traffic shows that the average visit by their users to a gas station has grown to nearly 8 minutes, far exceeding the 2-3 minutes it takes to fill up the car.

Massive Competition In-Store
Store owners are now faced with new challenges to stock products that appeal to a wide base; there are now more food and snack options at a gas station than ever before. When asked what the triggers are to make a purchase at a gas station convenience store, more than 30% of respondents said simply because “I’m already there.”

“More than ever, snack and beverage brands need to be top-of-mind for consumers before they visit. Otherwise they'll get lost in the crowd,” said Beard.

To learn more about this study, contact advertisement@gasbuddy.com.

*NACS Report on April 3, 2019

About GasBuddy
GasBuddy is a company that connects drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. As the leading source for crowdsourced, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, millions of drivers use the GasBuddy app and website every day to find gas station convenience stores based on fuel prices, location and ratings/reviews. GasBuddy’s first-of-its-kind fuel savings program, Pay with GasBuddy, has saved Americans more than $6 million at the pumps since its launch in 2017. The company’s business solutions suite, GasBuddy Business Pages, provides Fuel Marketers and Retailers their best opportunity to maintain their station information, manage their brand, and promote to their target consumer audience. For more information, visit http://www.gasbuddy.com.

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Allison Mac
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