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Summer Travelers Willing to Pay for Preferred Convenience

Nearly 60% of consumers would pay a markup on c-store products if it meant making only one stop.
Convenience store interior

RALEIGH, N.C. — Convenience store retailers are gearing up for busy summer travel as a record-breaking 70.9 million Americans are projected to travel more than 50 miles for the Fourth of July holiday.

As summer travel heats up, a new survey from global industrial technology company Vontier revealed time-pressed drivers are not only prioritizing convenience and a one-stop-shop experience when making on-the-go purchases, but they're willing to pay more and even drive a little out of their way to get it.

[Read more: Gas Prices Inch Up as Holiday Travelers Hit the Road]

The data reveals that drivers place a significant premium on convenience stores that offer diverse food options and additional services that make their stops more productive and efficient.  

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The Convenience Premium

Nearly 60% of respondents said they would be happy to pay a markup on c-store products if it meant making only one stop. On average, American consumers are open to a 10% to 11% price increase for items like made-to-order meals and snacks, and as much as a 9% increase for household essentials if it meant cutting out multiple stops on their journey. 

According to Vontier, consumers' willingness to pay a premium for convenience is particularly interesting in light of ongoing concerns about rising food prices, and the cost of basic goods and services in the United States. The survey suggests that while price remains a factor, consumers increasingly value the time-saving benefits of convenience stores.

"With half of Americans visiting convenience stores at least once a week, this willingness to pay more for convenience is not just a vacation road trip splurge, but a purchasing decision that's being made frequently," Vontier said.

The Products & Services That Matter

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they have a favorite convenience store and nearly 80% are willing to drive out of their way to visit their preferred store, even if it means passing other options. 

[Read more: Convenience Retailers Deploy a Mix of Techniques to Attract Fuel-Only Customers]

Additionally, a significant portion of respondents (almost half) would be willing to delay a restroom break to ensure they could shop at their preferred store. Forty-three percent said they would risk driving on empty to get to their preferred store. 

In a show of changing consumer behavior, tastes and expectations, 62% of respondents said they have gone to a c-store specifically for food and one-third said they go to convenience stores for hot, fresh restaurant-style food. Forty-seven percent said they have chosen c-store food over other nearby options. 

Convenience stores are not only hot new dining destinations, but they are also incorporating new technologies and services to drive productivity and meet consumer demands:

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents said they value mobile ordering during the purchasing process.
  • Seventy-three percent said they appreciate it when a convenience store offers additional services (i.e., car washes). 
  • Nearly half of Americans wish there was at least one charging station at every single convenience store.

"The landscape of convenience stores is undergoing a significant transformation," said Mark Morelli, president and CEO at Vontier. "Our research underscores the growing consumer demand for convenience and efficiency like mobile ordering in their day-to-day lives. New technologies and services are raising the bar on the convenience store experience, making it more than a stop on the journey but a destination in itself for everything from an amazing meal and a car wash to EV [electric vehicle] charging."

Raleigh-based Vontier is a global industrial technology company focused on smarter transportation and mobility. Its clients include 7-Eleven Inc., Circle K, Wawa Inc., Buc-ee's, Speedway, Chevron Corp. and Shell.

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