According to research from global money transfer firm, Xpress Money, convenience stores in the UK are rapidly expanding their range of services to include money transfer and mailbox utilities.
No longer purely a place to buy a pint, a loaf and paper, corner stores are now becoming financial hubs and collection points for an array of consumer goods as busy lifestyles impact their roles in local communities. It is now possible to transfer funds instantly from a local store to around 170,000 different collection points worldwide for just over two pence in every pound.
A poll of convenience store owners across the South of England found that almost half (39%) have introduced new services within the past five years, reflecting their super-utility status. Three in five (59%) now offer money transfer whilst one in five (19%) operate mailbox services in partnership with retailers. By contrast, traditional convenience staples such as post (one in 20) and DVD rental (one in 30) have almost stopped altogether.
With over 46,100 stores in the UK, convenience stores are once again on the rise with a 0.9% increase in the total number since 2014. The current market, worth an estimated £37.7bn in April 2015, is expected to see continued growth of around 5%.
Sudhesh Giriyan, COO of Xpress Money, said: “We are seeing a transition in the role of convenience stores to reflect the evolving needs of local residents. These local hubs are reinventing themselves to reflect consumer desire for hyper-local services. Money transfer, once a service only associated with high street outlets, has become a sought-after extension to the offering of local stores.
“There is a growing trend towards money transfer services in suburban locations, particularly within communities with a high international population. Convenience shoppers are readily adopting this highly accessible way of transferring funds, without the hassle of some alternative methods.”
Estimates suggest that around one in 10 people globally send or receive remittances. Sums sent to developing countries alone are around £289bn per annum, according to recent World Bank estimates.
Giriyan said: “The money transfer process within convenience stores is actually very simple. A customer visits their local store, arranges the transaction in moments, and the funds are immediately available to the recipient in most cases. This may be in cash or in a bank account, on a mobile wallet or remit card. It’s a convenience process after all.”