Convenience Store Industry, Interesting Facts and Trends

Through our business and research, we have come across a number of high-level facts and statistics about the c-store industry, its magnitude, direction, and emerging trends.  We thought they would be of interest to our customers and readers.

There are lots of convenience stores!
There are 152,794 convenience stores in the United States alone, one for every 2,095 people (Nielsen, 2014).

Convenience stores lead in retail outlets.
Convenience stores make up 33.9% of all retail outlets in the U.S. (Nielsen, 2014).

A convenient and growing destination for prepared food.
Food-service is approximately a $41 billion industry contributing 19.4% of in-store sales for convenience stores in 2014 (NACS State of the Industry Report of 2014 Data).

Consumers are choosing quick, fresh, healthy options.
Sales of fresh fruits and vegetables (including prepared salads and packaged produce) increased from 10.3% to $362 million in 2014 (Nielsen).

Wine and spirits sales are rising.
Table wine sales rose 7.1% (case sales growth), sparkling wine rose 13.4%, and spirits realized 15.9% growth in 2014 for convenience stores (IRI).

Wine, a profitable alternative to car washes?
A convenience store in El Carajo (Miami, FL) replaced its car wash with a wine store. Wine sales now account for 28% of their 11 Million dollar sales (NACS).

Convenience stores are a worldwide phenomenon
Taiwan has the highest concentration of convenience stores of any country. There are more than 9,800 stores over 36,000 square kilometers. A study from 2014 found that there were 2.878 billion visits to convenience stores in Taiwan in 2013, which translates into an average of 122.73 trips for every man, woman, and child in the country.  More than 40% of people in Taiwan visit a convenience store at least once per day. Over 70% pay their bills there and more than 20% eat meals in the stores (China Times

Sales of e-cigarettes are growing!
Electronic nicotine devices (ENDs/e-cigarettes) are leading the way in the other tobacco products category in the U.S. Their first-quarter unit volume jumped to 49.6% in 2015 from 26.1% in 2014. Tobacco (cigarettes and other tobacco products) equaled 35.9% of in-store sales in 2014 (Nielsen, Jan-April 2015, 2014).

Super Bowl = super sales in the snack aisle!
The two weeks around the Super Bowl generate $1.5 billion in snack sales and $767 million in candy sales (Larry Levin – 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo).

Convenience store sales are increasing year over year.
Convenience store sales in the USA increased by 4.4% in 2014 to $214.9 billion (NACS).

Millennials are purchasing food and drinks at Convenience stores.
Convenience stores accounted for more than 11% of millennials’ food and beverage stops in 2014 (CSnews).

Promotional compliance is staggeringly low!
At c-store level, promotional compliance can be as low as 50%. This can be dramatically improved by implementing retail audit software.

For an updated version of this post see “Convenience Store Industry, Emerging Trends and Interesting Facts.”


Refer to the Convenience Stores category for checklists, how-tos and best practices for the c-store industry.

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