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Christmas 2021 in C-Stores
Seasonal shopper behaviour in convenience stores changed as a result of the pandemic.

We analysed sales from convenience stores throughout 2021 and compared it with 2020 and 2019 to see how shopping habits have changed.

Before the pandemic, average store sales dropped over Christmas and New Year as the main household shop was likely to have taken place in supermarkets and out of town shopping centres. It was normal to see a drop in footfall. Basket spend does increase during Christmas week but not enough to offset the drop in shopper numbers.

Christmas 2021 - Average Weekly Store Sales

Seasonal shopper behaviour in convenience stores changed as a result of the pandemic. This is evident in the weeks leading up to and including Christmas and the New Year.

In Christmas 2020, there wasn’t the usual decline in sales seen in Christmas week, although sales did fall in New Year week, whilst still remaining well ahead of 2019. The effects of COVID-19 were mostly positive for stores, with increased store sales and higher basket spend. There was a heavier reliance on c-stores at Christmas due to restrictions being reintroduced, and especially with last-minute changes to the rules for Christmas Day.

In 2021, the pattern has remained the same despite fewer restrictions this year. Average basket spend is only slightly behind the levels seen last year, but footfall has increased.

Christmas 2021 - Average Footfall
Category Share over Christmas by percent week 51
Looking at the 5 key categories, the share of Christmas week spend increases over the 3 year period. Alcohol sales increased to around a fifth of all store spend in 2020 and 2021. There was also an increase for groceries and confectionery. In the week of New Year’s Eve, spend for these key categories dropped in 2021 (after the strong uplift seen in 2020) with all 5 categories seeing share of total spend fall below the levels seen pre-pandemic.
Category Share over New Year by percent week 52
There was less reliance on c-stores for alcohol this New Year as there were no restrictions for the hospitality industry, as there were in 2020.
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