Busier lifestyles and a need to save time are driving strong expansion in convenience, which is set to grow by almost 18 per cent by 2022, according to new IGD figures.
At the organisation’s Convenience Retailing Summit on 6 June, the charity predicted the channel would grow to a value of £47.1 billion in the next five years, with more than nine in 10 (91 per cent) UK grocery shoppers visiting a convenience store in April 2017.
Convenience was forecast to be the third-fastest growing retail channel after online and discount.
IGD’s research found that time is of the essence for today’s shoppers and 57 per cent said they choose to shop in convenience stores because they are quicker to get around. Over half (54 per cent) of post-millennials (18-25-year-olds born between 1992 and 1999) and 40 per cent of over-25s claim to shop in their nearest neighbourhood store to save time, even if the cost is a little greater.
Speaking at the summit, IGD’s shopper insight manager Michael Freedman said: “Not only do our channel forecasts, released today, predict that convenience will be one of the top three UK growth channels alongside online and discount, but our shopper data also demonstrates just how many shoppers are visiting these stores.
“Busier lifestyles mean shoppers are always looking for ways to save time, and smaller stores with fewer items can help them do this. Post-millennials are particularly engaged with the convenience channel because of their preference for shopping little and often.”
He added: “Great mission-based merchandising is a key route to success for retailers when it comes to meeting the needs of the shoppers coming through their doors. Some 56 per cent of shoppers claim to have visited a convenience store for a top-up shop on their last trip, while over a quarter (28 per cent) shopped for food-to-go.
“Choosing ranges and positioning them in a way to appeal to these shoppers will ultimately drive sales.”
Within convenience, branding emerged as an important driver for sales, with 46 per cent of post-millennial shoppers saying they were loyal to well-known household brands due to product quality.
It isn’t just post-millennials who have preferences for certain brands, however, with older convenience shoppers also seeking out their favourite marks. Some 39 per cent of older shoppers said brand name is the top attribute they use to determine the quality of a product in convenience stores.
“Branded suppliers and retailers should collaborate to ensure they’re offering shoppers the right mix of branded and private label goods,” Freedman said.