COVID-19’s Impact on Convenience Stores - What to Expect 3/24

By Skupos

Posted Mar 24, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has had a drastic effect not only on all sectors of the economy, but also on daily life. Convenience stores continue to offer a vital service to our community, especially with their recent designation as "essential businesses" by Homeland Security. And although the markets are volatile right now, our hope is that armed with the right information, smaller retailers can better serve their neighbors.

Starting with when the WHO declared a global health emergency on January 30th, we've taken a look at the data and analyzed a few trends that we are seeing across product sales in convenience stores. Our goal is to provide insight into what’s happened, and what’s to come.

Average Weekly Revenue per Store
While 2020 started with slight revenue declines across both fuel and in-store sales, we begin to see some changes with the emergence of COVID-19. As consumers increasingly turn to convenience, in-store sales start to bounce back the week of 2/17 at an average rate of $576 per week, narrowing the traditionally large gap between fuel and in-store sales. We will continue to monitor this trend.

Average Gallons per Fill Up
Although data indicates that people are visiting the pump less often, they are filling up with more gas per visit, amounting to an increase of 10% more gallons per visit per week. This increase can be attributed to two things, customers limiting store excursions due to the coronavirus and falling gas prices.

Compared to this time frame in 2019, consumers were filling up their tanks with 4.6% less total gallons per visit.

Average Dollars Spent per Week - 1 oz. Purell Bottles
Historically, convenience stores saw around $20 in weekly revenue from the 1 oz Purell hand sanitizer sales. As virus prevention precautions ramped, convenience stores saw a 7x increase in hand sanitizer sales for the four week period ending March 19th, resulting in average weekly 1 oz Purell sales of $142.64. As other retail channels see a strained supply of hand sanitizer, consumers are turning to convenience.

Average Weekly Revenue - ABInBev and Molson Coors
Revenue from beer sales continues to inch its way back up to pre-global health emergency numbers. Since February 17th, retailers have seen an average increase in weekly beer sales from ABInBev ($53 per week) and MolsonCoors ($22 per week).

Starting on February 17th, 2019, retailers also saw weekly beer sales increase at a similar rate with ABInBev ($58 per week) and Molson Coors ($19 per week).

With current COVID-19 events, we expect 2020 revenue to continue to increase week-over-week as reliance on neighborhood convenience stores grows.

Average Dollars Spent per Visit - ABInBev and Molson Coors
Since February 17th, consumer spending on ABInBev and Molson Coors products per visit has increased by 4.7% and 5.2%, respectively. Store owners can be reassured that although customers are visiting their stores less often, they are spending more per visit as people continue to stock up.

We believe that with access to better data, businesses are able to adapt to change. Especially in these unsettling times, the more information the better. We’re striving to provide C-store owners with the data that they need to stay informed, understand trends, and react to changes in the market.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll continue to provide data-driven updates on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.

And in the meantime, we’ve rounded up a few articles showcasing how C-stores around the world are stepping up in these unprecedented times.

We’re all in this together.

Skupos drives revenue growth and operational efficiency across all segments of the retail industry through the collection of billions of transactions every year. Over 13,000 customers across the United States rely on Skupos’ platform to provide actionable insights that enable brands, distributors and retailers to increase sales volume and employee productivity. For more information, visit skupos.com or LinkedIn.