UK convenience stores’ sales are forecast to reach £44 billion by 2017, according to the latest research by IGD. This represents a 29% increase from the current value of £34 billion. The average annual growth rate for the convenience sector is set to be 5.1% between now and 2017.
IGD’s ShopperVista research highlights some of the trends helping convenience stores to grow:
* Shoppers are favouring a ‘little and often’ approach, with 49% of them now doing their grocery shopping three or more times a week, compared to 39% in 2009
* Seven out of ten (72% of) convenience store shoppers can see themselves using these shops to pick up parcels if they are not home for a delivery, saving people time while giving another reason to visit convenience stores and boost sales.
“Despite the tough trading conditions, the UK convenience sector is performing well and growing faster than the total grocery market,” points out Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD. “The convenience market is benefiting as people favour a ‘little and often’ approach to their food shopping that helps them budget and spread the cost. The sector is also more competitive than ever, with operators raising their game to attract more customers. This includes offering stronger promotions, a greater choice of goods and better value for money.”
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of convenience stores are still independently owned, either by an unaffiliated retailer or as part of a symbol group such as Nisa or Spar. So they stand to benefit from the considerable interest in supporting local communities and businesses.
She adds: “People are leading increasingly busy lives and might not be home when online deliveries or bulky post arrives. Convenience stores can help by offering the facility to pick up parcels, giving shoppers the opportunity to do grocery shopping at the same time, and providing another reason to use them. The stores could do more to embrace technology and make convenience shopping easier. Two-thirds (65%) of shoppers can see themselves using money-off coupons sent to their mobile phones when doing their convenience store shopping.”