When Customers Shop Means a Lot

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When Customers Shop Means a Lot

By Don Longo, Convenience Store News - 01/27/2015

NATIONAL REPORT — Morning customers just might be the most important customers for convenience store retailers to please, according to findings from the exclusive Convenience Store News 2015 Realities of the Aisle consumer research study.

Consumers are shopping at convenience stores more often, especially in the morning for a wide variety of reasons, from purchasing hot beverages and lottery tickets to filling up their gas tanks for the day ahead.

Consumers who shop at convenience stores between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.:

  • Shop c-stores more frequently than shoppers at any other time of the day;
  • Typically shop for beverages and gasoline;
  • Are the most likely daypart shoppers to buy prepared food at a c-store; and
  • Typically shop c-stores while running other errands or traveling to and from work.

For the second consecutive year, the annual CSNews Realities of the Aisle consumer research study was conducted by Carbonview Research, a custom, primary market research and analysis firm owned by CSNews’ parent company Stagnito Business Information.

Electronic interviews were conducted with 1,500 consumers who shop at a convenience store at least once a month. The survey asked c-store shoppers how often they shopped, why they shopped, when they shopped, what they purchased and how much they spent.

In addition to demographic information highlighting shopping behavior by gender, income, presence of children in the household, region of the country and age, this year’s study also breaks out key insights related to the time of day consumers shop c-stores.

Additional insights in this year’s consumer report are that:

  • Evening shoppers (between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.) index higher as purchasers of a host of product categories including frozen and fountain drinks, candy, snacks and takeout food;
  • Evening customers are the most likely to consider a convenience store as a “destination” compared with morning and early afternoon customers who shop on the way to and from work, school or other errands.
  • The most popular three-hour shopping period for c-store consumers overall is 4 p.m. to 6:59 p.m.
  • Men were the chief shoppers from 6 a.m. to 8:59 a.m., while women and younger shoppers (aged 18-24) were dominant from 2 p.m. to 4:59 p.m.

For more findings from our exclusive 2015 Realities of the Aisle consumer research study, look in the February issue of Convenience Store News