Convenience store operators who stick to outdated ideas about their target customers risk losing sales.
That’s the conclusion of a new report by Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal with Chicago-based foodservice market research firm Technomic.
Crecca analyzed the long-held notion that the typical c-store customer is young, male and blue-collar, a consumer many in the industry dub “Bubba.” While that demographic is responsible for a healthy share of c-store sales, it’s not as dominant as some operators think, Crecca says.
“He’s not the only consumer that c-store operators and suppliers should be thinking about,” she says.
The Bubba stereotype suggests that the majority of c-store customers are male, which is true, but Crecca says the gap isn’t as wide as many think. About 68 percent of men shop at c-stores, compared to 61 percent of women.
And while the stereotypical Bubba is traditionally assumed to be Caucasian, Hispanics and blacks are actually more likely to visit a c-store weekly or more often, according to Technomic.
Similarly, the stereotype that the majority of c-store customers are lower income also is mistaken. About three-quarters of both those who earn $35,000 to $49,000 annually and those who earn upward of $100,000 visit c-stores weekly.