March 2019: 2019 Category Management Review

2019 Category Management Review

Convenience categories are evolving quickly. This year, CSD highlights the latest movers and profitable moneymakers.

If there is one word that perhaps best describes most convenience categories in 2019 it might be innovation.

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We’re talking innovation on the part of fast-moving consumer product manufacturers and innovation on the part of convenience retailers looking to separate themselves from the competition.

Over the past year, to capture consumers’ ever-fluctuating preferences, more c-stores began offering store-made pizza, bean-to-cup coffees, locally-sourced proteins, delectable smoothies and fresh fruits and vegetables.

In terms of category merchandise, there was much for category managers to decipher, from vitamin waters to fruit-infused carbonated drinks to M&M’s chocolate bars.

Such diversity reflects the changing tastes of a U.S. consumer base that is widening when it comes to the number of customers that frequent the neighborhood c-store.

An average convenience store selling fuel has around 1,100 customers per day, or more than 400,000 per year, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Cumulatively, the U.S. convenience store industry alone serves nearly 165 million customers per day, and 58 billion customers every year.

That’s a lot of customer preferences to track. Some categories are being dramatically impacted.