Home » Record Sales in Convenience Stores: Harnessing Consumer Behavior Changes in the Post-Pandemic Era

Record Sales in Convenience Stores: Harnessing Consumer Behavior Changes in the Post-Pandemic Era

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The return to traditional commuting and shopping behaviors has led to record-breaking sales in convenience stores in 2022. According to data from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), total convenience industry sales reached an astounding $906.1 billion, marking a 9 percent increase over 2021. With consumers increasingly seeking convenience and quick-service solutions, this trend presents key opportunities for convenience stores and independent grocers alike.

Impressive Sales Data The sales data from 2022 reveals in-store sales accounting for 33.4 percent of the total, amounting to $302.8 billion. Several categories, including packaged beverages, other tobacco products, salty snacks, candy, and packaged sweet snacks, all saw double-digit sales growth year-over-year. The average consumer spending per visit also rose by 4.9 percent, hitting $7.52.

Fuel for Thought Although convenience stores account for about 80 percent of fuel sales in the U.S., fuel volumes remained relatively steady while fuel sales grew by a staggering 41.2 percent, largely due to higher gas prices.

Key Factors Driving Sales Several factors contributed to this boost in sales, such as the growing number of convenience stores, particularly single-store operators, and inflation pushing prices higher. A notable factor has been the continued growth of food service within convenience stores, offering restaurant-quality food and making up a significant percentage of in-store sales and gross margins.

The Flip Side Despite the encouraging sales figures, convenience store operators face increasing direct store operating expenses (DSOE), including rising credit card swipe fees and labor costs. Therefore, careful management of these costs will be crucial for profitability in the coming years.

Lessons for Independent Grocers For independent grocers, these trends offer several takeaways:

  1. Diversify Offerings: Increasing your range of products and services can attract a wider customer base and potentially boost sales.
  2. Quality Foodservice: With food service proving a significant sales driver in convenience stores, consider offering restaurant-quality food items in your store.
  3. Monitor Costs: Keep an eye on rising operational expenses, such as credit card fees and labor costs, and strategize how to offset these increases.
  4. Leverage Consumer Behavior: Understand the return to pre-pandemic behaviors and adapt your services to suit the changing consumer needs.

The convenience store industry has shown a strong resurgence despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. For convenience stores and independent grocers alike, understanding and responding to these trends will be key to maintaining growth and profitability.


Convenience stores saw record sales in 2022, with in-store sales increasing by 9 percent. This trend, largely driven by a return to pre-pandemic behaviors, presents opportunities for independent grocers. Key strategies to consider include diversifying offerings, introducing quality food service, managing rising costs, and adapting to changing consumer behaviors.

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