Consumer Trends

C-stores get an "A" from college students

C-store operators have a valuable demographic to target, according to “Making the Grade: Student Consumer Impact on the Retail Fuels and Convenience Marketplace,” by the NPD Group. The report, which collected 12 months of data ending in June 2012, found that the 19 million college student population accounts for billions of dollars spent each year on C-store products.

The report focused on college students 18-24 years of age:

  • College students made 351.4 million visits to C-stores, spending $5.2 billion on products
  • College students’ (full and part-time) leisure spending reached $76 billion last year (up $2 billion from the year before)
  • College student C-store product spending grew 15% over the past year
  • Impulse purchases account for 31.9% of college students’ C-store spending, but only 22.7% of “other C-store shoppers’ purchases”

“Students with money to spend represent a growing population—and a significant opportunity—worth convenience store marketers’ attention,” says David Portalatin, NPD’s director of industry analysis. “Opportunities exist for C-store retailers to tap into student impulse purchasing through strategic product placement, bundling, loyalty programs, and dealing to increase student purchasing.”


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