The convenience industry is an exciting fast paced world where owner's can look forward to exciting growth in the coming years. Within the last thirty years the number of c-stores has dramatically increased by 63%, showing that people are taking advantage of how profitable owning a convenience store can be.
As the c-store industry grows rapidly, many have analyzed the reasons that are making stores so successful. One of the biggest causes has been the ability to offer more convenient options. By offering hot and cold ready-to-eat products, customers are choosing c-stores over fast food and other options. This allows for c-stores to become a part of their everyday routine. Whether it is for a quick lunch or a snack during a road trip, c-stores are offering larger selections bringing in more profits than ever before. Along with new products, another reason for success is the lower gas prices that have been driving in foot traffic. Lastly, with a more stable and consistent economy, shoppers are able to spend more money on things they may not necessarily need. Since c-stores now account for 34.1% of all retail outlets in the U.S., they have become an obvious destination for those looking to treat themselves.
Since 63.1% of all stores are single-store operated, the climate for growth is very good. Although large chains are expanding, they are nowhere close to pushing smaller stores out of the race for profits. Just in 2016, U.S. c-stores experienced record sales of $233 billion. With majority of profits from tobacco products and ready-to-eat food, 2017 will likely be the year for more innovative food items. Recently, companies like Jack Link's have taken their traditional beef snacks and turned it into a low calorie, high protein breakfast option. These kinds of products will be the backbone of c-store profits this year.
As the number of stores increase, so are profits. Take a look as some of the top grossing categories so you know what to stock in your store to stay on top of increasing your profits. These are the average percentages of total in-store sales in 2016:
Tobacco, Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products; 36%
Hot & Cold Ready-to-Eat Foods and Dispensed Beverages; 21.7%
Cold Beverage Sales; 15%
Packaged Candy & Salty Snacks; 9.8%
Beer & Alcoholic Beverages; 12.2%
Other Products; 10.8%
Becoming More Convenient
As more and more c-stores emerge it is important to allow your store to grow along with the competition. Striving to become the one-stop shop for your local community is your best bet in staying relevant and profitable. You can do this by implementing different services such as BillPay or EMV capable ATMs. Offering these along with prepaid cards, phones, or even just the newest flavors of fountain drinks can help you stay on top of the trends and additions that customers need and want.