Fact Sheets

Convenience stores offer speed of service to time-starved consumers who want to get in and out of the store quickly. These shoppers recognize this channel of trade for its convenient locations, extended hours of operation, one-stop shopping, grab-and-go foodservice, variety of merchandise and fast transactions. Here's more interesting facts about this dynamic industry: 

  • About 80% of convenience stores (122,552 total) sell motor fuels, a decrease of 1.0% (or 1,255 stores) from 2016, with the single-store motor fuel segment dropping by 1,025 stores. The decline in the number of convenience stores selling fuel is reflective of retailers evolving their business models to focus more on the in-store, foodservice offer, as well as retailers embracing new store formats and establishing their brands in more urban, walk-up locations.
  • Convenience stores have an unmatched speed of transaction: The average time it takes a customer to walk in, purchase an item and depart is between 3 to 4 minutes. Here's the breakdown: 35 seconds to walk from the car to the store, 71 seconds to select item(s), 42 seconds to wait in line to pay, 21 seconds to pay and 44 seconds to leave store. (NACS Speed Metrics Research)
  • The convenience store industry is a destination for food and refreshments. With falling revenues from fuels and tobacco products, foodservice sales are increasingly becoming convenience stores’ most profitable category. In fact, convenience store foodservice contributed 22.5% of in-store sales in 2017, with prepared food driving the category’s growth.
  • Convenience stores are everywhere. There are 154,958 convenience stores in the United States—or one store for about every 2,100 people—and c-stores account for more than one-third (34.4%) the brick-and-mortar retail universe tracked by Nielsen in the United States. 
  • An average convenience store selling fuel has around 1,100 customers per day, or more than 400,000 per year. Cumulatively, the U.S. convenience store industry alone serves nearly 165 million customers per day, and 58 billion customers every year.
  • Self-serve at the pump is a part of most convenience stores' fueling operations. The first self-serve gas station was opened by Hoosier Petroleum Co. in 1930, but was closed by the fire marshal as being a fire hazard. Frank Ulrich reintroduced the idea in 1947 at the corner of Jilson and Atlantic in Los Angeles. Modern self-service began in 1964 with the introduction of remote fueling; an attendant was no longer required to reset the pumps after each transaction. Today it is now available in 48 states. (New Jersey and Oregon still require full-service operations; New Jersey's law was enacted in 1949; Oregon's in 1951.) 
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