Facts and figures about the industry and its top-selling products and services.
The U.S. convenience store industry has 151,000-plus stores that account for nearly $700 billion in sales. Here are more details.
- Convenience Stores Offer More Convenience: Convenience stores offer speed of service to time-starved consumers who want to get in and out of the store quickly. These shoppers recognize this channel of trade for its convenient locations, extended hours of operation, one-stop shopping, grab-and-go foodservice, variety of merchandise and fast transactions.
- U.S. Convenience Store Count: The U.S. convenience store count increased to a record 151,282 stores as of December 31, 2013, a 1.4% increase (2,062 stores) from the year prior, according to the latest NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.
There are 126,658 convenience stores selling fuel in the United States, and these retailers sell an estimated 80% of all the fuel purchased in the country.
- The Price Per Gallon: Retail gasoline prices are among the most recognizable price points in American commerce, yet they are among the least understood. Here is a primer on what causes prices to go up or down and vary from store to store.
- The History of Fuels Retaling: The year 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the first purpose-built, drive-up gas station. Today, stations look very different from that first station.
- Why Gas Prices Historically Go Up in the Spring: Crude oil prices are the biggest factor driving gas prices, but how the crude oil is processed also plays a significant role in price increases. The fuels industry's switchover to summer-blend fuels, a process that begins each February and ends June 1, creates challenges that also affect retail fuels prices.
- "Future of Fuels 2014": Seeks to determine how government projections will directly affect the retail fuels market, consumer use of specific types of light duty vehicles, and the pace at which alternative fuels may gain market share.
The industry has a number of critical issues, including outrageous credit card fees, debit card holds and more.
- Credit and Debit Card Fees: After a 21.6% increase in convenience store industry card fees in 2010, they jumped 23.3% in 2011 to a record $11 billion. Total credit and debit card fees surpassed overall c-store industry profits for the sixth consecutive year. Credit card fees are the second-largest expense at the store level. Only labor costs are more.
- Debit Holds for Fuels Purchases: As gas prices and the use of plastic at the pump have increased, consumers are increasingly concerned about the debit "holds" on their accounts.
- Foodservice at Convenience Stores: While convenience stores have offered fresh, prepared foods for years, it is only over the last decade that the trend has accelerated. The result is that convenience stores have continued to evolve from gas stations that happen to sell food to food retailers that happen to sell gas.
Facts and trends about top in-store merchandise categories and services of the convenience and fuel retailing industry.
- Beer Sales: Nearly 80% of convenience stores sell beer, accounting for more than 30% of all beer purchased in the United States.
- Coffee Sales: With competition for consumers’ hot dispensed beverage dollars is at an all-time high, convenience stores are one of the preferred destinations for coffee drinkers who want a quality cup of Joe quickly.
- Lottery Sales: Convenience stores sell approximately half of all lottery tickets sold in the United States.