A recent NPD study suggests that convenience stores might want to target their prepared foods according to age demographics.
A recent study conducted by NPD's Convenience Store Monitor shows that the aging dynamics of the two largest population segments, Boomers (46 -66) and young adults (18 – 33), will alter how, when and why they use c-stores over the next decade.
Using fresh food as an example of the aging curve's impact on purchase incidence, NPD's report found that young adults tend to purchase less prepared convenience store foods as they age within the 18–33 bracket. "Fresh food" was defined as food prepared on site, including pizza, burgers, and some fresh fruits and veggies.
Mid-to-late thirtysomethings, however, tend to buy more convenience store prepared foods, as convenience is key to this demographic. Purchases level off in the Boomer age group.
The NPD report also found that value, although still important, ranks below convenience as a consumer enters middle-age. A young Boomer who is still in the workforce places an importance on convenience while a retired Boomer is less concerned with convenience, but is looking for healthier food options to meet their dietary needs.
"When you look at how the Boomers and young adults today have affected the category just by their sheer numbers, it's important to understand how their behavior will change as they age and the impact it will have," said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's convenience store channel research. "Think about Boomers as they move out of the workforce, and how their changing lifestyles will alter how they use c-stores; or young adults as they mature into middle age and their needs change." Portalatin added that while c-stores need to understand the changing need of their core shoppers, they also need to nurture the next generation of customers, "C-stores need to cater to the needs of customers coming through the door today with an eye out for who will be coming through the door tomorrow."
The report tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 49,000 convenience store shoppers in the U.S.