Younger Brits drive convenience store revival, PayPoint reports


New research from PayPoint highlights a new wave of ‘convenience converts’ as our shopping habits have changed during the pandemic. Over half (56%) of people visited their local convenience store for the first time since lockdown started on 23 March, which rises to 68% among 18-24-year olds and 59% among 25-34-year-olds.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults also reveals that people are hesitant to return to their former shopping habits, with 51% planning to continue shopping at their local convenience store to support local small businesses post-lockdown. Over two thirds of the public (66%) agree that their local store has a positive impact on the local area, and 71% of people think of their convenience store as an integral part of the community.

A new generation of convenience converts?

Appreciation of local shops, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials, has increased after consumers struggled to get hold of essentials due to panic buying amidst the pandemic. Nearly two thirds of Brits (65%) say their local has everything they need. This is supported by PayPoint’s EPOS data, that shows a significant average sales uplift of groceries (36%), bread and cakes (52%), alcohol (64%), and household items (75%) between March and July 2020, compared with the period between November 2019 and February 2020.

EPOS data from PayPoint also shows an average increase in the number of baskets processed between March and July 2020 of 32% against the overall average between November 2019 and February 2020, which includes the busy Christmas period. This is a strong indicator of increased footfall during lockdown and is supported by the number of goods sold per basket and their cumulative average value over the same period, which rose by 39% and 64% respectively.

Young people (18-24s) are more likely to stock up on healthcare items such as painkillers (31%) from convenience stores than any other age group and nearly half (49%) would currently rather shop at their local convenience store than their local supermarket. The same number (49%) also stated that they value their relationship with their local convenience retailer, and 63% say the stores are playing a greater role in their community than other local amenities such as banks and post offices continue to close.

Frequent families driving footfall

The young family demographic visits their local convenience store most frequently; with people aged 35-44 averaging 9.44 trips per month, beating the youngest age group who visit 8.44 times monthly. However, 25-34s are also the group most likely to continue supporting local convenience now lockdown has eased (56%).

Regionally, it’s Londoners who are most wedded to their local convenience stores; the average is 10.58 visits monthly, with those in Northern Ireland visiting second most often at 9.06 monthly trips.

Nick Wiles, chief executive of PayPoint, said: “This data clearly shows that the UK is undergoing a boom in appreciation for, and reliance on, convenience retail. Shoppers know they can trust their store to provide a safe environment and well stocked range of products and this is galvanising convenience retailers’ value to communities up and down the country. As lockdown continues to ease, the data tells us that ‘convenience converts’ will continue to use their convenience stores for a range of services, from everyday food and drink purchases to parcel pick-ups and drop-offs, utility bill top-ups, cash withdrawals and much more.”