- 05 October 2012
Convenience and thrift continues to drive opportunities for the convenience retail sector across Europe, bringing long-lost value back into the corner shop. An interesting report on the rise of European convenience retail from Verdict Research points to a doubling in the proportion of shoppers that have made daily top-up shops in convenience & small grocers to 5% between 2009 & 2011 across a list of European markets (UK, FR, DE, SP, IT, NL & RU).
Rising fuel costs, waste-consciousness, consumers grappling with food inflation by cutting down on volumes, a fall in out-of-home eating occasions, growth in on-line grocery shopping, and consumer desire to support the local & smaller store are all cited as drivers.
So, who is the European convenience shopper? Compared with supermarkets there is a much more even gender divide in C-store shoppers with 56:44 male-female representation. Two thirds are in the 18-34 year bracket (67%) with the highest concentration in the 18-24 yr bracket (43%).
These consumers are showing a willingness to trade-up in the local C-store and retailers are responding. Higher demands for a range of high quality, fresh products are clearly evident as we see the eating-out-at-home trend become grounded in social eating occasions.
According to a report conducted earlier this year by Diageo, 93% of c-store shopping trips were for “something for tonight”. The same report points to less price sensitivity with fewer than 50% of c-store shoppers checking prices before their visit, and two-thirds expecting to pay more in an independent outlet. 85% of c-store shoppers in this report live within 500 meters walking distance from the store.
According to marketing agency Tilt, health is a key driver of growth (12%) within the convenience channel and advises that new propositions that incorporate health & indulgence will have higher appeal.
While continental European convenience retailing has traditionally compared unfavourably with its Irish & UK peers, it is quickly developing the expertise, infrastructure and a stronger supply base of fresh convenient food to support this expansion.
The strongest growth in Continental European c-store numbers can be seen in the Reitan Group & Valora. In terms of relevant concepts, worthy examples of stores addressing the above trend across Europe are Sainsbury’s Fresh Kitchen & Morrison’s M-Local in Britain, Casino & Carrefour in France, Albert Heijn in Holland, Allguth and Rewe in Germany, and Zabka in Poland.