Convenience Stores - UK - April 2016
“Consumers are increasingly looking for convenience in all aspects of their grocery buying habits. That is why we have seen a shift to more fluid grocery shopping habits with consumers, particularly younger consumers, shopping on a more when-needed basis. This shift has fuelled the convenience market and the leading players continue to invest in the market to capitalise on this shift. However, this investment is creating an increasingly tough environment for the smaller players and we have seen consolidation in the market with many smaller players now seeking the protection of a symbol or buying group.”
– Nick Carroll, Retail Analyst
This report examines the following areas:
- Getting food-to-go right
- 7-Eleven and Postmates: A logical online grocery solution for c-store operators?
- Consolidation in the market: a necessary evil?
The convenience sector is a diverse one in terms of both the retailers that operate within it and the consumers, and needs, that it can serve. However, it is clear that the recent growth is being driven by the younger Millennials generation, those aged 16-34. This age group shows the highest and most frequent c-store usage and is also most likely to use c-stores for a broader set of needs than older consumers. Within this age group there has been a shift to more top-up grocery shopping habits, particularly amongst those living in urban areas, and convenience stores are perhaps the best suited grocery format to satisfy these needs.
This report combines both market and consumer data along with key retailer metrics to give an overview of the UK convenience market.
Broadly speaking a convenience store (c-store) is a small-store grocery-focused retail format which is in effect complementary to grocery formats more geared towards large weekly shops, such as supermarkets and online channels. Conventionally, it offers a convenience service for people needing to undertake top-up shopping or make distress purchases. With the entrance of major grocers into the sector in recent years, with higher standards of fresh and chilled foods and trusted own-brands, the sector has become increasingly prominent in consumers’ last-minute meal shopping.
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