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COVID-19: C-Store Industry Update 4/30

Consumer lives have changed dramatically in March and April in response to COVID-19 impacts. In order to serve evolving consumer needs, convenience store retailers have quickly tailored operating practices and product mix while taking into account their unique operating context.

Our Koupon Insights team continues to monitor COVID-19 developments and the impact on the convenience store channel. 

The following insights are based on convenience channel transactional purchase trends during a 4-week period from March 23 to April 19, 2020, compared to the relevant 4-week period in 2019. 

C-store retailers continue to deliver on their essential value proposition of convenience. A few key findings:

  • Inside store sales and basket sizes continue to improve while trips remain low with shelter in place mandates
  • Alcohol and Tobacco are up while Beverage, Candy, Food and Snacks are down
  • Geography continues to play a key role for inside sales growth, with locations in the Southeast leading and those in the Northeast trailing

Today’s post provides more context in each of these areas:

Inside Sales Trends Year over Year
Inside sales are materially improving since our last update. The decrease in total trips continues to be partly compensated for with a larger basket size – consistent with what is happening in grocery.

Segmenting sales per store by category and week provides deeper context:

Overall, Alcohol and Tobacco continue to represent large and growing categories for c-store retailers that meaningfully drive both trips and sales volume. Food is down having reduced offerings here. Beverage, Candy and Snack have experienced the largest declines through the pandemic, but these categories are improving in recent weeks.

Finally, segmenting sales by geography highlights how the intensity of COVID-19 and governmental responses are contributing to retailer performance.

As shelter-at-home programs are set to expire in late April and early May we anticipate continued growth in sales and trips across most categories.

Convenience retailers continue to innovate and evolve to consumer expectations and remain a key channel for trial and conversion. We will continue to monitor trends, share additional insights, and keep you informed over the near term.

Powered by nearly 5 billion consumer transactions, Koupon Insights brings consumer insights to retailers and brands.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more insights! 


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