Convenience stores continue to feel the pressure of supermarkets, UK trend

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th September 2015

SupermarketBritish supermarkets and discount food retailers are beating the convenience stores when it comes to mid-week grocery top ups.



A study into UK convenience store shopping habits by the country’s Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), found that 50 per cent of shoppers go out of the way to visit supermarkets and discount outlets even just to get necessary basics like eggs and milk.



The research also found that only 18 per cent of shoppers go to the convenience store if they need a top up on fresh foods. Most (29 per cent) will go to the supermarket for these items, 18 per cent will go to a food discounter and others visit stores like butchers, greengrocers and high-end retailers.



IGD Chief Executive, Joanne Denney-Finch said that shops like supermarkets are winning over convenience stores even for quick top-ups because consumers want a wide variety of products.



“The definition of top-up shopping itself is changing,” said Denney-Finch.



“ It’s no longer simply about distress purchases such as bread and milk – shoppers are telling us that it’s starting to mean more items in a basket, more fresh food and more time spent in the store.”



“Four out of 10 (41% of) shoppers say they are putting more items in their top-up shopping basket, against just 11% who are putting less in compared to two to three years ago,” Denney-Finch continued.



“This type of top-up shop can be more challenging for convenience stores to fulfil, especially when other channels are increasingly targeting the ‘little and often’ spend. For example, supermarkets are rearranging their layouts to deliver an easier, convenience-style shop for people who just want to pop in for a few items. Meanwhile, food discounters have also been opening in high street locations, side by side with convenience operators,” said Denney-Finch.



Three tips for convenience stores looking to win back customers



IGD reported that shoppers would like convenience stores to be aware of the following three points:



  • Understand how top-up shops are conducted by the modern shopper. Convenience stores should help shoppers save time when they do top-up shops.
  • Have a good balance between price and quality. Shoppers want extra-value from products. For example, shoppers want to know they are supporting local farmers if the convenience store stocks locally made items.
  • Make shopping in convenience stores more exciting and engaging with marketing activities like in-store events.