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Who Is Today’s Core Convenience Store Shopper?


NATIONAL REPORT — It’s often said that 80 percent of a convenience store’s sales come from just 20 percent of its customers. In new, exclusive consumer research on the demographics and shopping behavior of c-store shoppers, Convenience Store News uncovered several insights on who these “core shoppers” are and what keeps them coming back to c-stores again and again.

For this project, “core” customers were defined as those who make frequent visits to c-stores on a daily or weekly basis, and those who indicate they buy in-store items "every time" or "almost every time" after purchasing gas at a c-store. Not only do these shoppers spend more in an average trip, but they also do so habitually, making it vital that c-store operators know what they want and deliver.

Here are five illuminating findings from the CSNews research:

1. Consumers aged 35-44 are significantly more likely to be daily or weekly c-store shoppers, and those aged 25-34 are significantly more likely to buy in-store merchandise after purchasing gas. Older customers, aged 55 and up, are significantly less likely to make daily or weekly c-store visits, or to stop in for a post-gas merchandise purchase.

2. Whether their shopping trips are to get a take-home meal for the family or to indulge the kids with a special treat, parents have great potential to be core shoppers. Fifty-seven percent of consumers with at least one child under the age of 18 in the household report visiting c-stores on a daily basis, while 42.9 percent visit on a weekly basis. Parents are similarly much more likely to regularly buy in-store merchandise with gas, as 58 percent do so during most or all gas fill-ups.

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