SAN FRANCISCO — Even in the midst of a pandemic, summer holidays are proving to be strong sales periods for convenience stores, according to new data from data firm Skupos. According to the company's latest blog post shared with CSP Daily News, this summer’s Independence Day holiday (Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5) saw a 17% year-over-year increase in average total revenue per convenience store.
"Despite reduced travel from COVID-19, barbeques, camping trips and shorter road tripscontinue to make warm holiday weekends an important incremental revenue driver for c-stores," Skupos said. "Holiday weekends can be important incremental revenue drivers if you know which items to stock and feature."
With the unofficial end-of-summer weekend—Labor Day—approaching, Skupos created a few suggestions for the c-store community to get the most from the three-day weekend Sept. 5-7.
Stock Up Early
Store traffic builds a few days before the actual holiday, Skupos said, so bring in holiday stock sooner than later.
"Across most holiday weekends, we see store visits increase leading up to the holiday weekend, typically peaking two days prior to the actual holiday, with store visits decreasing by the highest percentage on the holiday itself," Skupos said. Just how early to stock up can vary by store, market and even holiday.
For example, over the past five Fourth of July weekends:
- Peak traffic typically arrives two days prior to the holiday. This year, Thursday, July 2, saw average store visits increase by 8% compared to the previous Thursday.
- Meanwhile, the slowest traffic occurred on the actual holiday—July 4—when stores saw a 6% decrease in average visits.
In contrast, Memorial Day weekend 2020 saw the following:
- Traffic peaked one day prior to the holiday. On, Sunday, May 24, average store visits increased by 11% compared to the previous Sunday (vs. 4% on the Friday before).
- The slowest traffic occurred on the actual holiday, a 6% decrease in average store visits.
Even though in-store visits decrease as a holiday weekend progresses, basket sizes increase, Skupos said, which could indicate that consumers are stocking up vs. grabbing items for immediate consumption.
“This past Fourth of July weekend, market basket sizes increased across the board, with the largest increases being seen on Thursday and Saturday (the actual holiday), up around 2%,” Skupos said. “We saw a similar trend this past Memorial Day weekend, with the largest basket size increase occurring on Monday (the actual holiday).”
Beverages in Bulk
Holiday weekends are also a time for stocking up with many Americans planning to barbeque or host gatherings. In 2019, Labor Day weekend saw huge increases in bulk purchases, with the average quantity sold of larger packs of packaged beverages and beer each increasing by 60% per store over the course of the weekend.
And while this past 4th of July showed slightly lower increases, Memorial Day 2020 followed a similar pattern, with sales of seven- to 12-packs increasing 23% for nonalcohol packaged beverages and 26% for beer. Meanwhile, 13- and larger packs increasing 18% for nonalcohol beverages and 21% for beer.
The Skupos report concluded with these retailer recommendations for the coming Labor Day weekend:
Get signage up in time. Make sure your promotional pump signage driving consumers in-store is live in time for peak customer traffic. Labor Day 2019 saw the largest increase in fuel gallon volume starting on Thursday (a 10% increase compared to the previous week) and peaking on Friday (a 28% increase), days before the actual Monday holiday.
Stock up and promote top products. Hot-ticket items this past Fourth of July holiday, according to Skupos data, included:
- Top carbonated soft drink: Mountain Dew 20-ounce single
- Top beer: Bud Light 12-pack of 12-ounce bottles
- Top Chips: Doritos 3.125-ounce Nacho Cheese and Ruffles 2.87-ounce Original
- Top Coffee Beverage: Starbucks Frappuccino 13-ounce single
In an exclusive partnership with Skupos, CSP Daily News is reporting the data firm's pandemic-related insights on a weekly basis. Click here to review all the insights.
San Francisco-based Skupos drives revenue growth and operational efficiency across all segments of the retail industry through the collection of billions of transactions every year. More than 13,000 primarily small, independent chains across the United States rely on Skupos’ platform to provide actionable insights that enable brands, distributors and retailers to increase sales volume and employee productivity.