Convenience Stores, Gas Stations Found Bright Spots in Pandemic

With the drastic and immediate increase in demand for e-commerce, the stakes for convenience stores getting digital fulfillment right are critical.

The author(s)

  • Silvana Daehn Vice President, US, Mystery Shopping
  • Kevin Leifer Director, US, Mystery Shopping
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Over the past year, more buying shifted online amid the retail shakeout and the extraordinary circumstances presented by the pandemic—a trend that had major implications for convenience stores and gas stations.

From Circle K to 7-Eleven and more, convenience store chains and gas stations adjusted to a very different world of fewer drivers, fewer fuel purchases and a huge demand for delivery of household items. As life slowly returns to normal, will those trends continue? Here’s what Ipsos has found from recent studies that can help convenience store leaders and managers prepare for the future.

The U.S. Department of Commerce published that 21% of retail sales in 2020 were done online. Further, Ipsos’ Consumer Health and Safety Index just found that 55% of consumers expect to do more online shopping in 2021 and 82% do not expect to break their new routines in the next six months. Convenience stores that flourished in 2020 demonstrated a high degree of flexibility, awareness of health and safety precautions and a smart use of online. The stores have long been viewed as opportu­nities for add-on sales when consumers are fueling their vehicles. But some brands last year added further relevance: 7-Eleven partnered with Instacart, while QuickChek and Wawa brought in GrubHub, DoorDash and Uber Eats to bring digital access to their assortments and home delivery to their offerings.

But what does that mean for 2021, as the vaccine rollout continues? Here’s what our data says…

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The author(s)

  • Silvana Daehn Vice President, US, Mystery Shopping
  • Kevin Leifer Director, US, Mystery Shopping

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