Northeast Shoppers Choose C-stores for Commuting Stops & Meal Trips

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Northeast Shoppers Choose C-stores for Commuting Stops & Meal Trips

12/07/2017
C-store shopper at checkout

NORWALK, Conn. — Purchasing gasoline is the overall most common trip-driver to convenience stores, but it is especially likely to drive c-store trips in the Midwest and South. And, in the Northeast, commuting stops, such as on the way to or from work or school, and trips to buy a meal are significantly more likely, according to Kantar Retail's latest Breakthrough Insights study.

Kantar also found that parents and younger shoppers are highly engaged with the c-store channel for a wider range of missions, especially shoppers with children in the household. These shoppers overindex in making all but one major trip type: Buying specific items other than gasoline. Specifically, parents overindexed the most on commuting stops and stops while running other errands.

According to the study, 49 percent of consumers tend to always go to a specific c-store, while 51 percent visit the one most convenient at the moment. This provides the opportunity to both reward loyal shoppers and satisfy the functional needs of shoppers seeking convenience.

The c-store brands that have extreme customer loyalty when it comes to shopping at a specific store include Wawa, QuickTrip and Sheetz. Seventy-two percent of Wawa shoppers, 60 percent of QuickTrip shoppers and 58 percent of Sheetz shoppers tend to choose a specific store over what is most convenient.

These three c-store brands are generally regarded as best in class in terms of store experience and execution, as well as an in-store experience that resonates with shoppers, according to the research. Each retailer is highly engaged with consumers on social media and effectively leverages mobile technology to further deepen engagement, particularly in the form of rewarding loyal customers.

Kantar also found that more than a quarter (27 percent) of shoppers looking for healthy food and snack options, but only 20 percent said their recent shopping experience met that condition, leaving room for improvement in this area. Consumers' expectations are exceeded regarding beverage selection, as 30 percent said having a wide selection is important and 35 percent said their recent experience met that condition.

C-stores can improve the most on pricing, as 64 percent of shoppers said price is important, but less than half (49 percent) said their recent shopping experience met that condition.

The full study is available here.