The convenience sector is struggling to meet the needs of younger shoppers, according to the latest findings from shopper insight specialists Him.
According to the Him & MCA UK Convenience Market Report 2019, the percentage of shoppers aged 16 to 34 using convenience stores is 28% - down four percentage points from 32% in 2017.
The report found that the key factors in attracting younger shoppers were improving the ease and speed of the shopping experience, and the food to go offer.
“It may be cliché, but younger consumers are the shopper of the future, yet they under-index in the convenience channel,” said Him & MCA senior insight manager Blonnie Walsh.
“Retailers need the support of wholesalers and suppliers to understand the needs of younger shoppers.
“In general, younger shoppers behave differently to older generations - for example, speed and ease of shop are more important to younger shoppers than older. Retailers need to adapt their approach to cater for both.”
Food to go is seen as the key mission for attracting younger shoppers, but the sector is currently facing unprecedented levels of competition from specialist operators.
This year 13.6% of convenience shoppers said food to go was their key mission for visiting a store, up from 13% last year. However, in 2014, that figure was 20%.
“Retailers need to create an offer that suits their location,” explained Walsh.
“Consumers are demanding more than prepackaged sandwiches, with many retailers offering hot food to go options or partnering with foodservice operators to generate footfall.”
Overall, the report predicted the convenience sector would grow by 3.5% to £41.7bn this year. This compared to just 2.7% growth in 2018.