Coffee, Beverage Buyers are Different than Average Convenience Store Buyers

Getting a cup of coffee or another dispensed beverage is the single-​minded mission of many high frequency convenience store visitors, and often they'll grab a donut or something else to go with it, according to convenience store research by The NPD Group, a leading market research company. 

NPD's Convenience Store Monitor, which continually tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 51,000 convenience store shoppers in the U.S., finds that 86% of dispensed coffee purchases are planned and seven percent are purchased on a deal. Other dispensed beverages are also purpose-​driven purchases with only 14% bought on impulse and 13% on a deal. Consumers of coffee and other dispensed beverages are high frequency buyers who represent 68% more visits than the average convenience store customer.

Coffee and other dispensed beverages represent 31% of unit purchases made in a convenience store, and of the dispensed beverage consumers, 33% are looking for coffee, 11 percent cappuccino or latte and 3 percent hot or iced tea.Typically, with the dispensed beverage incremental purchases are made amounting to an average visit of $6.83. Forty-​five percent of consumers who purchase their coffee between 6 and 10 a.m. tend to also purchase doughnuts, gum, sweet rolls, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, snack cakes, and cookies, reports NPD.

Dispensed beverage buyers are different than average convenience store buyers, who tend to be blue collar males, 18-​to-​49 years-​old, according to the Convenience Store Monitor.  Dispensed beverage buyers tend to be female, ages 35–64, white collar, Hispanic and from larger households. Coffee buyers tend to be male, ages 45–65, a mix of white and blue collar, strong military connection, smaller households and higher income.

"The fact that the buyers of coffee and other dispensed beverages are defined differently than the typical convenience store visitor presents an incremental opportunity for c‑stores," says David Portalatin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD. "If a convenience store can deliver on what dispensed beverage buyers are looking for in terms of product quality, a rewards program, and a clean and bright store, it can attract a loyal new customer base."

"The fact that coffee and other dispensed beverages are purpose-​driven purchases is a ready-​made niche for any convenience store ready and willing to compete with QSRs and other retail outlets offering coffee and beverages," says Portalatin. "If a convenience store is looking for a way in which to distinguish itself from its gasoline or other offering, dispensed beverages appear to be among the possible answers."

[Source:  "Convenience Store Monitor."  The NPD Group.  5 July 2011.  Web.  13 July 2011.]