PDI Report Finds Increase in C-Store Trips, Decrease in Basket Size

Hot, cold dispensed beverages saw highest year-over-year growth in convenience stores
PDI, GasBuddy report
Image: Shutterstock

2023 saw some recovery in trips as consumers returned to convenience stores in larger numbers, but the average basket size was down, according to the Tracking Convenience Report by PDI Technologies and GasBuddy.

Growth Levels

Cigarettes, packaged beverages and beer—three of the largest in-store sales categories—experienced some of the lowest growth rates and even some declines when comparing results from 2022 to 2023, according to the report.

Cigarette sales were down 3.3% year-over-year, beer saw 4.7% growth and candy saw 8.7% growth, compared to the highest increase, hot dispensed beverages, up 32.7%.

Much of this growth was the result of ingredient price increases, such as significantly higher cocoa prices impacting the cost of candy; however, higher profitability was tied to many c-stores increasing their stakes in foodservice as a way to generate more trips during the morning and lunch.

As retailers pivot to foodservice offerings, consumer packaged goods (CPG) can leverage this trend with closely aligned promotions and offers—such as pairing an energy drink offer with the purchase of a fresh breakfast sandwich, said PDI.

PDI, GasBuddy

Falling Gas Prices

Compared to 2022, gas prices in 2023 brought some relief to both retailers and consumers, who were no longer hypersensitive about gas prices, the report found.

Falling prices at the pump also helped increase footfall, contributing to the year-over-year recovery in store trips. Much of the recovery stemmed from consumer behaviors shifting back to normal patterns—lower gas prices led to less penny-pinching from shoppers.

In turn, the lower prices translated into more gallons per trip and greater predictabi­lity about what c-store operators could expect across dayparts.

With lower gas prices, consumers are back to filling up their tanks, giving them more idle time at the pump or inside the store.

PDI, GasBuddy

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