Convenience store sales are forecast to grow by more than a quarter over the next five years, according to new research by IGD.
The growth would make the convenience sector worth £42.2bn by 2016, giving it a 22.9% share of the food and grocery market – up from 21.4% this year.
IGD said higher fuel prices and a growing culture of smaller basket shops were encouraging people to do more of their shopping at convenience stores.
“The convenience market’s success is down to a number of factors. Shoppers are, for example, increasingly favouring a ‘little and often’ approach, and convenience operators are responding by offering a wider range of product choices, including more fresh and chilled foods, such as fruit and vegetables,” said Nick Everitt, director of retail insight at IGD.
“Convenience stores are also reaping the benefits of people cutting down on their car usage due to high petrol prices and so preferring to shop locally,” he added.
IGD’s consumer research found that 50% of shoppers said they would use shops nearer to home to save on petrol costs if prices continued to rise.