Consumers Go to C-stores Seeking Coffee, Other Dispensed Bevs

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Consumers Go to C-stores Seeking Coffee, Other Dispensed Bevs


HOUSTON -- Consumers go to convenience stores specifically looking for coffee or other dispensed beverages, according to new research released today by The NPD Group. The research showed coffee and other beverages are rarely purchased by customers impulsively.

NPD's Convenience Store Monitor, which constantly monitors more than 51,000 c-stores, revealed that 86 percent of coffee purchases are planned and 7 percent are purchased on a deal. Among other dispensed beverages, only 14 percent are bought on impulse and 13 percent on a deal.

NPD unveiled further data that showed coffee and other dispensed beverage buyers represent 68 percent more visits than the average c-store customer. Coffee and other dispensed beverage purchases represent 31 percent of unit sales made in a c-store. Among customers looking for dispensed beverages, 33 percent want coffee, 11 percent cappuccinos or lattes, and 3 percent desire hot or iced tea.

When consumers visit c-stores, they do tend to make impulse purchases along with their beverage, said NPD. The average customer purchase is $6.83. Forty-five percent of consumers who purchase coffee between 6 and 10 a.m. also purchase doughnuts, gums, sweet rolls, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, snack cakes and cookies, according to the research.

According to the Convenience Store Monitor, dispensed beverage buyers are much different than average c-store customers, who tend to be 18- to 49-year-old males. Dispensed beverage buyers are often female, aged 35 to 64, white collar, Hispanic and from larger households. Those who purchase coffee tend to be 45 to 65 years old, white and blue collar, strong military connection, smaller households and higher income.

"The fact that the buyers of coffee and other dispensed beverages are defined differently than the typical convenience store visitor presents an incremental opportunity for c-stores," said David Portalatin, executive director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. "If a convenience store can deliver on what dispensed beverage buyers are looking for in terms of product quality, a rewards program and a clean and bright store, it can attract a loyal new customer base."