Consumers’ perceptions of c-stores as a beverage option and their thirst for new flavors and formats vary greatly depending on their gender, birthdate and where they shop for a drink.
While taste is paramount in a consumer’s choice of which c-store to patronize for their foodservice beverage purchase, other factors rise to the top depending on gender. For female consumers, store cleanliness is an immediate qualifier, while male consumers prioritize a convenient location, according to the Technomic report.
“Prepared beverages are a key category c-store operators can leverage to increase engagement with female consumers,” says Donna Hood Crecca, principal with Technomic. Women are less likely to make purchases more than once a week than men, and they are less adventurous.
“[Women’s] rate of exploration/trial is less than half that of men,” she says. “Marketing innovative beverages with a better-for-you or functional positioning—either through LTOs or new menu items—may prompt increased visits and trial by women.”
Market by Market
Urban consumers tend to seek out c-stores for beverages more often than those in suburban and rural markets, the Technomic research found.
“Rural consumers present a unique opportunity,” Crecca says. “Consumers in these markets purchase prepared beverages less frequently than those in more densely populated areas, and table stakes of beverage programs are top priorities in their path to purchase: cleanliness of the store, taste and fast service.” Rural operators may need to elevate these aspects of their prepared-beverage programs to increase engagement and purchase frequency.