NEW YORK — More than seven in 10 (71%) adult consumers say they discover new products and brands in convenience stores, according to Convenient Insights: The C-Store Shopper, a new nationally representative consumer sentiment survey on c-store shopping from NCSolutions (NCS). Nearly four in 10 (38%) respondents said they shop at c-stores two or more times a week, while overall, nearly two-thirds (62%) visit c-stores at least once a week, the report said.
C-stores “are an essential part of the customer journey,” NCSolutions said.
Here are the reasons why the company, which provides solutions for improving advertising effectiveness for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) ecosystem, concluded that “Americans are in love with convenience stores”:
C-Stores Provide Good Shopping Experience, Value
American consumers find shopping at c-stores offers numerous benefits. Seventy-nine percent of shoppers say the stores offer a lot of product variety, while 77% say c-stores provide a good shopping experience. Sixty-three percent see c-stores as delivering good value for their budgets.
CPG brands looking to engage Gen Z can tap into this generation’s favorable view of c-stores. Ninety-one percent of Gen Z say c-stores provide a good shopping experience.
More than two-thirds (67%) of Americans purchase candy from c-stores, and many rely on c-stores as a place to for beverage—57% of consumers said they purchase on-the-go drinks like coffee, tea or fountain beverages at c-stores, while 40% buy milk, juice and other staples. In addition, 32% pick up packaged beverages and 23% buy beer.
Beyond beverages, almost a third (30%) pick up prepared foods while in the store, and 37% purchase lottery tickets.
What Brings Consumers Into C-Stores?
Americans visit c-stores for various reasons, but the location is No. 1, cited by 65% of American consumers. Fifty-nine percent say c-stores meet their immediate needs, while 54% like that they can conduct transactions quickly and be on their way.
Nearly one-third (30%) say price brings them into the store, while 28% enjoy the variety of products c-stores have to offer. Additionally, 34% shop at c-stores because they are less crowded.
“The c-store channel offers a compelling potential for CPG brands to motivate new buyers to try their products. It’s an especially attractive channel to reach the Gen Z consumer, who is very loyal to c-stores,” said Dan Malmed, chief revenue officer for NCSolutions. “Appealing to Gen Z c-store enthusiasts enables advertisers to build and drive loyalty as well as improve the return on ad spend of their campaigns.”
Gen Z are also more likely to use a delivery service for c-store items, with almost half (49%) reporting they have used a service such as 7-NOW, Instacart, DoorDash, Uber and others. This is 96% higher than all Americans who reported using a delivery service (25%) for c-store shopping.
Getting Social With C-Store Shoppers
Consumer purchase behaviors are also influenced by what they see on social media. Seventy percent of c-store shoppers said they are more likely to purchase products they see promoted on c-store social media channels—16% said they would be completely likely, 19% said they would be very likely and 35% said they would be somewhat likely.
NCSolutions fielded the online survey of 2,216 respondents, age 18 or older, from Oct. 7 to Oct. 10, 2022. It weighted the responses by location, education, income and other demographics to be representative of the overall population.
Based in New York, NCSolutions is a joint venture company with Nielsen as the majority owner.