Short And Sweet Shopping Trips

According to a new report by KouponMedia, the retail industry is now shifting to smaller stores. In 2015, small format retail categories — drug, dollar and convenience stores — outgrew larger format stores by almost 400%, and now make up a more than $1 trillion market. The growth in small format can be attributed to three factors — demographic shifts, online shopping and shifting consumer demands. As consumers move to cities, shop online and demand convenient store trips, smaller stores are emerging as a natural fit.

2015 Sales Growth By Retail Category


YOY Growth

Grocery store




Drug store


Dollar store


Convenience store


Source: KouponMedia blog, March 2017


Today almost 85% of Americans live in urban areas. For retailers, urban areas present an environment with limited real estate and consumers who are demanding on-the-go and more convenient shopping experiences, says the report. These factors are helping small format retailers to grow and expand, while forcing large format retailers to slim down store footprints.

Another driver of small format stores is the growth in online shopping. A study published by Nielsen several years ago identified four types of shopping trips — each representing a different consumer objective, frequency and average transaction size.

The massive growth in the Amazon Prime subscriber base, and all of the features like its Dash and Subscribe & Save programs, are replacing many stock-up trips for American households. Similarly, it’s expected that up to 18% of grocery spending will occur online by 2023, eventually replacing the need for weekly, routine shopping trips.

Stock-up types of trips are more likely to be fulfilled by large format stores like super centers and grocers. Shopping trips with higher frequency and smaller basket size focus on immediate and on-the- go purchases — elements that are harder for online shopping to address, says the report, but comparatively easier for smaller stores to achieve.

Shifting consumer demands are also driving growth in small format retail. As consumers increasingly lead on-the-go lifestyles, time is becoming a valuable commodity. While online shopping is one way of addressing this consumer need, e-commerce does have its limitations.

The average trip in a C-store is under 4 minutes, which is 34 minutes less than consumers spend in larger format stores. This is likely to appeal to the increasingly important millennial segment, which is known for prioritizing convenience and instant gratification, says the report. In a recent study, 51% of the millennial generation reported that a store’s location is most important when deciding where to make a purchase. In addition, millennials now account for over one-third of all c-store shoppers.

Concluding, the The Rise of Small Format Retail Urbanization report points out that the E-commerce, urbanization and the shifting of consumer demands shows no signs of slowing, which will inevitably lead to continued growth of small format in 2017 and beyond. This presents not just an opportunity for retail, but for the mobile offer industry as a whole.

 For access and additional information from the KouponMedia blog, please visit here




1 comment about "Short And Sweet Shopping Trips".
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  1. Mike Anderson from Cox Media Group, March 24, 2017 at 2:23 p.m.

    Are the growth numbers in this table based on revenue, or number of visits?

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