ALEXANDRIA, Va.—dunnhumby, a leader in customer data science, has announced that QuikTrip, Wawa and Sheetz are the top retailers in the $654.3 billion U.S. convenience market, according to the company’s second annual dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index for the Convenience Channel (RPI).
The RPI surveyed nearly 7,000 U.S. households to determine which of the top 27 c-store retailers have the strongest combination of financial performance and consumer emotional connection. Those with the highest overall index scores are: 1) QuikTrip, 2) Wawa, 3) Sheetz, 4) Kwik Trip/Kwik Star, 5) RaceTrac, 6) Casey’s General Stores and 7) Maverik.
“There is a raging battle for the stomach that is being fought not only by grocery retailers, fast food restaurants and food delivery services, but also now by convenience stores,” said Jose Gomes, president of North America for dunnhumby. “The convenience retailers winning today and substantially growing are catering to the time-starved consumer by offering not only groceries but also quality fresh and ready-to eat food.”
The overall RPI ranking evaluated retailer performance in five areas: convenient quality, price, fresh and healthy, discounts and rewards and digital, resulting in the following findings:
- Size really does matter. The biggest difference in convenience store retailers from those at the top and bottom of the ranking is size. Smaller regional retailers outperform most of the national retailers by better adapting to the evolving needs of their customers.
- Focusing on fresh, healthy and ready-to-eat items are the biggest differentiators for top performing retailers. The top four convenience retailers—QuikTrip, Wawa, Sheetz and Kwik Trip —have made foodservice a priority and a key differentiator from other convenience stores. By also focusing on freshness, they are positioning themselves to steal trips from supermarkets and quick-service restaurants.
- Cross-shopping is on the rise between the convenience, grocery, dollar, drug and quick-serve restaurant channels. Nearly seven out of 10 convenience customers regularly shop each of the other channels each month. Category differences appear to somewhat buffer convenience from drug and the growing dollar channels.
- The best performers are excellent in retail basics. Successful retailers get the basics, such as quality and store experience, right, and then develop ready-to-eat and fresh areas. Additionally, they utilize digital and rewards to share and amplify store improvements.
- Store count and convenient locations are still relevant. Visit and consumer awareness data show a minimal difference between the top and bottom retailers. But the strength of the customer emotional connection, ability to convert awareness into purchase, along with key financial measures, suggest that even though store counts capture visits today, high store numbers are not enough for superior growth.
The full news release is available here