The food and grocery convenience sector in the UK is to increase in value by more than a quarter from its current value in five years’ time, according to data released today.
Unveiling figures at its Convenience Retail Conference, industry analysts IGD said that the sector is set to grow to from £33.6 billion in 2011 to £42.2 billion in 2016.
Convenience’s share of the overall food and grocery market is also expected to rise, to 22.9 per cent by 2016, compared to 21.4 per cent by the end of this year.
Due to the economic strain facing many families in the UK, the company found that the rising cost of fuel is affecting where consumers choose to buy essential items such as food, with 50 per cent of shoppers preferring to use nearby shops to save on petrol costs.
Being able to walk to a store from home was a key factor for 46 per cent of respondents when choosing a convenience store.
Nick Everitt, Director of Retail Insight at IGD, said: “The convenience sector is doing well in challenging conditions and outperforming the wider grocery market.
“Convenience stores are also reaping the benefits of people cutting down on their car usage due to high petrol prices and so preferring to shop locally.”
Those who shop at convenience stores use the format three times a week according to the figures, good news for grocers such as Waitrose and Morrisons, which are each in the early stages of increasing their c-store portfolios as they eye expansion in the UK.
“The convenience market’s success is down to a number of factors, including an ability to adapt to the changing demands of the UK population,” Everitt added.
“Shoppers are, for example, increasingly favouring a ‘little and often’ approach, and convenience operators are responding by offering a wider range of product choices.”