Higher C-store Spending Trend Wanes as Pandemic Carries On

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Higher C-store Spending Trend Wanes as Pandemic Carries On

11/12/2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The convenience channel is seeing lower growth in dollar sales as the coronavirus pandemic lingers on.

According to the latest biweekly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 continues to impact consumer behavior, consumers continue to put items in their baskets but at a lower price point than previous periods. Lower spend per trip may be driven by end-of-month impact, NACS Daily reported.

Convenience store dollar sales slipped year-over-year during the past five weeks (-0.8 percent for the week ended Nov. 1 vs. 4.6 percent for the week ended Sept. 27). Spend pre-trip year-over-year has slowly declined, slipping to 14.7 percent for the week ended Nov. 1.

Since early March, inside store sales have been elevated vs. with year-earlier periods as consumers pantry-loaded during the early months of the pandemic, but that trend appears to be waning, according to NACS.

On a dollar basis for the four-week period ended Nov. 1, the biggest category movers were packaged beverages (10.2 percent vs. 6.4 percent for the four weeks ended Sept. 27), cold dispensed beverages (-23.1 percent vs. -29.9 percent the prior four weeks) and cigarettes (0.7 percent vs. 2.1 percent the prior four weeks).

Additional insights from the PDI and NACS biweekly report show that:

  • Overall, while trips still haven't fully recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels, they are hold steady, averaging -12.2 percent year-over-year during the past five weeks.
  • Trips increased several percentage points in the packaged beverage, hot dispensed and cold dispensed categories for the four-week period ended Nov. 1 vs. the four weeks ended Sept. 27. Packaged beverages were -0.8 percent vs. -4 percent; hot beverage trips were at -29.3 percent vs. -24.7 percent; and cold dispensed beverages were at -26.2 percent vs. -31.3 percent, respectively.
  • Trips in the key weekday morning rush daypart stood at about 80 percent, and the other weekday dayparts were just under 90 percent of prior year’s trips, giving up progress made during late summer.

Powered by PDI Insights Cloud, the PDI and NACS biweekly report provides consumer trip and basket-level data and analysis from 5,500 mid- to large-size convenience retail sites across all key geographic locations. The full report is available here.