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Convenience Stores - US - March 2016

"Convenience stores are a steady presence in most US consumers’ lives and a significant $450 billion business. With 82% of survey respondents stating that they have gone to a convenience store within the last three months, this channel is clearly an important platform for connecting with shoppers and making sales."

Ali Lipson, Category Manager – Retail & Apparel

Thsi report looks at the following areas:

  • Low gas prices bring a positive outlook
  • Bigger is best
  • Core audience is highly engaged with c-store

Low gas prices, which in some areas have occasionally approached $1/gallon, are encouraging people to drive more and thus visit convenience stores to fuel up – 70% of respondents who visited gas station or road based convenience stores stated they went to get gas. Low gas prices mean that consumers are open to discretionary purchases during their trip – and impatient Millenials also find c-stores a compelling alternative to wandering the endless aisles of a big box store for basic “fill in” grocery trips. In this report, Mintel looks at trends currently driving growth in the convenience store sector and identifies further opportunities.

For the purposes of this report, Mintel defines convenience stores as establishments that retail a limited line of goods, primarily groceries and ready-to-consume beverages and snacks, in easily accessible locations. The majority of convenience stores also sell motor fuel.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Low gas prices bring a positive outlook
            • Figure 1: Total US convenience stores revenues and fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2010-20
          • Bigger is best
            • Core audience is highly engaged with c-store
              • Figure 2: Convenience store visits, by select demographics, December 2015
            • The opportunities
              • Strengthen the base
                • Figure 3: Factors influencing convenience store selection, by select demographics, December 2015
              • Drive more engagement with women
                • Figure 4: Desired improvements to convenience stores, by female and age, December 2015
              • Take advantage of technology
                • What it means
                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                  • Low gas prices fuel sales growth
                    • Food, tobacco make up the majority of sales
                      • Drugstores, smaller format stores stoke competition
                      • Market Size and Forecast

                        • Low gas prices help lift c-stores out of their slump
                          • Figure 5: Total US convenience stores revenues and fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2010-20
                          • Figure 6: Total US convenience store revenues and forecast, 2010-20
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Food and beverage lead c-store sales, edging out tobacco
                          • Figure 7: Distribution of convenience store sales, by category, 2013-14
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Drugstores expand
                          • Everyone’s thinking small
                          • Market Factors

                            • Gas prices drive c-store sales
                              • Growth in younger, Hispanic consumers provides a boost
                                • New push for healthier food
                                  • Winning with the lottery?
                                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                    • C-stores focus on consolidation
                                      • 7-Eleven drives franchising
                                        • BP continues to make cuts
                                          • Fresh foods, time savings provide opportunity
                                          • What’s Working?

                                            • Reward loyalty
                                              • Think fresh and local
                                              • What’s Struggling?

                                                • Get the basics right
                                                  • Diversify beyond gas
                                                    • Make way for mobile
                                                    • What’s Next?

                                                      • Surf the e-commerce wave
                                                        • Make c-stores even more convenient
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Young men and Hispanics form the key audience
                                                            • Fueling up and filling in
                                                              • Everyone comes to the c-store
                                                                • Strong interest in drinks
                                                                  • The need for speed
                                                                    • Better value provides an opportunity
                                                                    • Convenience Store Visits

                                                                      • Consumers love the c-store
                                                                        • Figure 8: Convenience store visits, December 2015
                                                                      • Untapped potential in female shoppers
                                                                        • Figure 9: Visited any convenience store, by gender and age, December 2015
                                                                      • Young, higher-income shoppers frequent c-stores
                                                                        • Figure 10: Visited any convenience store, by age and household income, December 2015
                                                                      • Asian shoppers least likely to visit c-stores
                                                                        • Figure 11: Visited any convenience store, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2015
                                                                    • Reasons for Visiting Convenience Stores

                                                                      • Food, gas motivate c-store stops
                                                                        • Figure 12: Reasons for visiting convenience stores, December 2015
                                                                      • Men more motivated by food
                                                                        • Figure 13: Reasons for visiting convenience stores, by gender, December 2015
                                                                      • Foodservice strongly appeals to the young, affluent base
                                                                        • Figure 14: Reasons for visiting convenience stores, by age and household income, December 2015
                                                                      • Children encourage snacking at the c-store
                                                                        • Figure 15: Reasons for visiting convenience stores, by presence of children in household, December 2015
                                                                    • Items Purchased at Convenience Stores

                                                                      • Beverages the most popular c-store purchase
                                                                        • Figure 16: Items purchased at convenience stores, December 2015
                                                                      • Young women like pre-packaged drinks and food
                                                                        • Figure 17: Items purchased at convenience stores, by gender and age, December 2015
                                                                      • Hispanics are high on c-store food
                                                                        • Figure 18: Items purchased at convenience stores, by Hispanic origin, December 2015
                                                                    • Factors That Influence Convenience Store Selection

                                                                      • Convenience, gas prices key motivators
                                                                        • Figure 19: Factors influencing convenience store selection, December 2015
                                                                      • Young men most likely to value selection
                                                                        • Figure 20: Factors influencing convenience store selection, by gender and age, December 2015
                                                                      • Higher-income young people the most likely to grocery shop
                                                                        • Figure 21: Factors influencing convenience store selection, by age and household income, December 2015
                                                                    • Desired Improvements to Convenience Stores

                                                                      • Better value, more rewards most prized
                                                                        • Figure 22: Desired improvements to convenience stores, December 2015
                                                                      • Core customers most interested in speed
                                                                        • Figure 23: Desired improvements to convenience stores, by gender and age, December 2015
                                                                      • Loyalty programs could help drive interest from some older shoppers
                                                                        • Figure 24: Desired improvements to convenience stores, by age and household income, December 2015
                                                                      • Hispanics more likely to be motivated by selection
                                                                        • Figure 25: Desired improvements to convenience stores, by Hispanic origin, December 2015
                                                                    • Attitudes toward Convenience Stores

                                                                      • Relatively high levels of satisfaction with c-stores
                                                                        • Figure 27: Attitudes toward convenience stores, December 2015
                                                                      • Brand loyalty needs to improve for younger men
                                                                        • Figure 28: Attitudes toward convenience stores, by gender and age, December 2015
                                                                      • Health more of a concern for affluent shoppers
                                                                        • Figure 29: Attitudes toward convenience stores, by age and household income, December 2015
                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                        • Sales data
                                                                          • Fan chart forecast
                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                  • Terms
                                                                                  • Appendix – Market

                                                                                      • Figure 30: Total US convenience stores revenues and forecast at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
                                                                                      • Figure 31: Average US retail gas prices, 2010-15
                                                                                      • Figure 32: US population by age and gender, 2015-25

                                                                                  Convenience Stores - US - March 2016

                                                                                  US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)