Convenience stores have remained resilient as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues on. A survey by NACS found that total industry inside sales have increased 1.5% to a record $255.6 billion in 2020, despite transactions declining by 13.9%.
Basket sizes have increased 18.4% compared to 2019, with average basket size reaching $7.34 in 2020 compared to $6.20 in 2019.
“Convenience stores that kept these items in stock likely experienced fast turnover of these products and strong margins, largely due to high demand,” says Charlie McIlvaine, chairman and CEO of Coen Markets Inc.
In addition, the foodservice category in convenience stores dropped from 38.9% of the in-store gross profit dollar sales mix in 2019 to 34.5% due to pandemic restrictions. Commissary was the only food category that increased in 2020, seeing a 13.3% growth.
- The in-store increase also came despite a 1.6% decline in the number of convenience stores, which totaled 150,274 stores at the start of 2021.
- Prepared food sales declined 7.4% in 2020, and as expected, the pandemic had a huge impact on self-serve beverages. Hot dispensed sales fell 33.4%, and cold dispensed beverages declined 7.9%, reflecting the drop in footfall amid stay-at-home orders and work-from-home schedules.
- The pandemic highlighted how gaps in the global supply chain added a sense of urgency to keep up with high-demand products in non-traditional c-store categories. Customers relied on the channel for daily essentials like grocery items, paper products and cleaning supplies.