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Consumer Report: Meeting Consumers Where They Live

Exclusive CSP-Technomic study reveals how to meet customers' needs, from Sacramento to Syracuse

If you had any doubt that place is a powerful influencer, take the humble pizza.

In New York, big, floppy, chewy crust is the norm. In Chicago, deep-dish reigns, with rich sauce floating atop an inch of melted cheese. And in California, pies play with fresh and unique toppings, from shrimp to Japanese eggplant.

This same sense of place shapes consumers’ convenience needs and preferences. What motivates shoppers in Portland can depend on whether they live in the state of Oregon or Maine.

To get a better sense of how regional differences play out in the channel, CSP and Technomic surveyed 2,500 c-store customers in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West in fall 2016. Questions gauged their attitudes on everything from when they visit c-stores to their foodservice cravings and attitudes about gasoline brands. The results reveal some key areas of differences between c-store customers, depending on where they live:

  • Midwest customers are value seekers, while western shoppers are looking for more healthful food options.
  • Southern customers place a high priority on a clean, safe c-store, and northeastern shoppers above all need a fresh meal, fast.
  • Low gasoline prices drive southern customers looking for a fill-up, while westerners are most likely to focus on the fuel brand.

The survey also found some key commonalities—in particular, around consumers’ use of technology such as smartphones, and the opportunity that c-stores across the country have to engage consumers through mobile.

Learn how to better tailor your store to the locals with the 2016 CSP Consumer Study: Examining Regional Differences at C-Stores.

Table of Contents

Regional Variations

Fresh—and Fast—Food

Taking Time for Tech

Fueling Up the Visit

Millennials' Taste for Tobacco

The Complete 2017 Consumer Package

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The 2016 CSP Consumer Study: Examining Regional Differences at C-Stores, powered by Technomic, was conducted via an online survey of 2,500 c-store customers ages 16 and older in October 2016. Questions for gas and tobacco were asked only to respondents of legal driving or smoking age, which was based on legal age by state. Consumers were segmented into groups based on which region they lived in and how often they visit c-stores.

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