Poll: Convenience Store Industry Expresses Optimism for a Quick Recovery
NATIONAL REPORT — According to a recent online poll conducted by Convenience Store News, half of c-store industry respondents believe that by July 1, their business will have recovered to at least 75 percent of its pre-coronavirus pandemic level. A quarter of respondents believe their business will have recovered to between 50 percent and 70 percent.
Surprisingly, one-fourth of respondents believe their business will have recovered completely by July 1. On the other hand, a little more than a quarter (27 percent) predict their business will be less than half of what it was prior to the pandemic.
In-store, the health crisis has had the biggest negative impact on sales of dispensed beverages and fresh baked goods, according to the poll. Both are self-service categories in c-stores.
Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages were their least successful product categories during the pandemic, while another 27 percent cited baked goods as being the most negatively affected by the economic shutdowns across the country. Almost one in five (18 percent) said their candy and snacks sales were hurt the most.
On the positive side, c-store alcoholic beverages has been the biggest beneficiary of the forced closings of bars and restaurants around the country. More than half of respondents (56 percent) said the alcoholic beverage business was their most successful category over the past month. Grocery staples (like bread, milk and eggs) were also cited by 22 percent of respondents as their most successful category.
The pandemic spurred many c-store retailers to launch or accelerate the launch of new technology-enabled programs. Half of respondents said they launched or enhanced contactless payment programs in the past month, while a quarter (26 percent) said they began focusing on curbside or pumpside pickup.
Drive-thru and home delivery were fairly low priorities comparatively. Only 6 percent of respondents said they’ve looked more closely at drive-thru operations and even fewer — just 4 percent — said they had launched or enhanced home delivery services in the past month.
CSNews continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the convenience store industry. Click here to see our continuous updates.