In-Store Spending Enters Positive Territory

C-store shopper spending on non-alcoholic packaged beverages turned positive, and salty snacks improved. 

May 12, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumer spending finally turned the corner for the week ended May 3 compared with the year-ago week as trip declines continued to slow, following more than a month of lagging performance amid stay-at-home orders, according to the latest weekly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is impacting consumer behavior.

Easing of state restrictions, coupled with a boost in consumer spending tied to first of the month pay/benefits, helped to lift in-store category performance for the week ended May 3.

Dollar sales turned positive, up 3.2% compared with the same week a year ago, driven by strong results from other categories besides alcohol and tobacco, which continue to be the top performers. Spend on non-alcoholic packaged beverages turned positive (+0.6% year over year), candy continued to climb, and salty snacks improved but still remain negative compared with the year-ago period.

Here are some key insights for the week ended May 3, 2020:

  • Spend per trip for the week ended May 3 fell shy of the prior week’s numbers (+22.9% vs. +24.9% for the week ended April 26) but still far outpaced the year-ago week.
  • The year-over-year decline in trips continued to slow (-16.1% vs. -21.3% for the week ended April 26).
  • The general merchandise and health and beauty care categories saw increases in dollar spend, up 5.4% and 5.8%, respectively, on a week-over-week basis. The two categories saw large year-over-year dollar increases as well (+28.7% and 17.3%, respectively), helped by trip and spend increases.

Powered by PDI Insights Cloud, the report provides consumer trip and basket-level data and analysis that will enable essential businesses around the United States to deliver what their customers want and need right now. The report combines consumer buying data from 5,500 mid- to large-size convenience retail sites across all key geographic locations.

Click here to read the free two-page summary, and click here to get the full report from PDI, including category sales analysis.