A convenience store is a small retail business that stocks a range of everyday items such as snack foods, soft drinks, groceries, confectionery, tobacco products, over-the-counter drugs, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines. In 2020, there were over 150 thousand convenience stores in the United States, of which the majority were independent stores. In the most recently reported year, the industry recorded sales of nearly 650 billion U.S. dollars, with more than half of it coming from the sale of motor fuel.
The first convenience store chain in the country was opened in Dallas, Texas in 1927. The chain eventually came to be known as 7-Eleven — currently the leading convenience store chain in terms of number of stores. Other leading convenience stores in the U.S. include Alimentation Couche-Tard, Speedway, Casey’s, and Pilot Flying J.
Convenience stores in-store sales
Typically, convenience stores' in-store sales are split into two segments: merchandise and food. According to the most recent data, cigarettes were the most sold product, reaching sales of 56 billion U.S. dollars. Beer followed, registering less than half of what cigarettes sales amounted to. Within the beer category, U.S. consumers preferred domestic premium brands, such as Budweiser. In the most recently reported period, Budweiser was the top domestic premium beer brand sold in U.S. convenience stores. Other popular products sold in c-stores include snacks and candy. As of 2020, potato chips were the best-selling type of salty snacks in U.S. convenience stores, while in the candy sub-category, chocolate won the prize.
Amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. consumers significantly reduced their shopping frequency at convenience stores. In a survey carried out in August 2020 across different generational cohorts, over half of millennial and baby boomer respondents reported to having decreased their number of visits to convenience stores. Two months later, another survey asked consumers what type of actions convenience stores could apply to increase their frequency of visits. While nearly 40 percent answered there is nothing they could do, 32 percent believed that improving the cleanliness of the stores could increase the number of customer visits. Other options included improving health safety protocols, offer outdoor seating, and provide autonomous checkout.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Convenience stores in the U.S.".