PayPoint: convenience store spending rose in Q4 as toilet roll, mobile phone calling cards and caffeine hits help shoppers see off the ‘annus horribilis’

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New data collected across PayPoint’s UK network of 27,500 local convenience retailers for quarter four (October-December) 2020 reveals how Brits coped with the November lockdown and shopped locally across the festive period.

This follows a successful drive by the company to continue the roll out of its PayPoint One EPoS system, now live in over 17,000 stores, which includes features such as real-time reporting, access to an online product file of over 100,000 SKUs and a fully integrated bill and card payment service. In response to the new lockdown measures implemented in January 2021, PayPoint has diverted two thirds of its sales force to work with existing retailer partners on getting the most out of PayPoint One’s capabilities. The focus is on making sure all PayPoint Oneretailer partners are better prepared than ever before to adapt and plan around the sales trends of their local communities and the expected increase in footfall during the lockdown.

Consumers’ shopping habits reflected the instruction to stay at home, with the average spend at local convenience stores soaring to £8.47 during the quarter, a 4% increase on £8.14 in Q3 2020 and an 11% year-on-year increase, up from £7.64 in Q4 2019.

The biggest risers across different product categories also give a glimpse of the nation’s mood at the end of a difficult year.

The ‘non-food, paper and disposables’ category saw the sharpest growth vs Q3, with a 22% increase in sales. The biggest seller in this category is a brand of toilet paper – hinting at a return to stockpiling ahead of the November lockdown – followed by second-class stamps, in demand to help send Christmas cards. Meanwhile, mobile phone calling cards saw 18% growth quarter-on-quarter, potentially fuelled by the fact that more calls were made to loved ones over the festive period as families were discouraged from getting together in person.

Furthermore, the nation took an extra big hit of caffeine during the colder, darker months between October and December. In PayPoint’s Convenience Basket Register, a quarterly glimpse of big sellers across six key product categories, Red Bull replaced Volvic water. The contents for Q4 2020 were:

  1. Hovis soft white medium (800g loaf)
  2. Peters sausage roll (single)
  3. Robert Wiseman Dairies semi skimmed milk
  4. Peperami Original (22.5g)
  5. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (95g)
  6. Kinder Bueno white (39g)
  7. Red Bull energy drink (250ml can)
  8. Coca Cola (1.5l bottle)
  9. Party ice cubes (bag)
  10. Bobbys Ice Snappers (single)
  11. Stella Artois (4-pack pint cans)
  12. Magnum Tonic Wine (20cl bottle)

Nick Wiles, CEO of PayPoint, said: “The data shows that while Christmas was different this year, seasonal merriment and a desire to celebrate with loved ones, albeit remotely, were still pillars of our end-of-year shopping habits. Similarly, PayPoint’s commitment to staying in regular contact to best support our retail partners remains as strong as ever. 

“Amid the latest lockdown, we have deployed two thirds of our sales team to engage directly with retailers to ensure that they are utilising the full capability of their PayPoint One EpoS systems. More than ever, the feedback of those customers is that the data available through PayPoint One is helping them to plan for – and react to – emerging sales trends which is crucial in the current environment.”