Published: May 22, 2022

Convenience Stores, NACS Reports Fewer Trips, Bigger Baskets

The COVID-19 pandemic upended nearly everything about retail, including consumer trips to c-stores. Yet, the convenience channel was already experiencing a concerning decline in transaction counts inside the store even before March 2020. In fact, every year since the report of 2016 data, the NACS State of the Industry Report has revealed at least a marginal decline in inside transaction counts.

According to the NACS CSX database, 2021 was the first year that inside transaction counts showed year-over-year growth, an expected result when compared with a very low base in 2020. While analysts shouldn’t ignore this outlier year, comparing 2021 data to 2019 data is more valid.

The CSX data indicate that in 2021, inside transaction counts only approached their corresponding months in October and November of 2019. While that result still should concern retailers, the data also reveal the positive side of this transaction decline: larger baskets. In 2020, COVID-19 delivered the convenience channel larger basket sizes due to shoppers consolidating trips and stocking their pantries. In 2021, retailers have continued to see baskets on par with 2020—and considerably larger than those of 2019.

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