New Upside Report Shows Consumer Demand for Convenience Stores Is in Decline

April 30, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2024 – Upside, the digital marketplace dedicated to empowering individuals and businesses financially, has released a new report that analyzes four years of transaction data from 1,700+ convenience retail locations, and a survey of 1,500 consumers across the country to gain insights into how c-store buying habits have changed, and why. Findings show that shoppers are making fewer c-store trips and buying fewer items per trip, and they say they’re doing so because of cost concerns. 

“C-stores experienced a step-change in the way they served customers during the pandemic, but now we’re seeing that trend reverse,” said David Poulnot, Upside Vice President of Fuel & C-store. “Headlines that say ‘revenue is up’ don’t show the full picture, and it’s critical that retailers have access to these insights so they can think through the opportunity to win those trips back in this post-pandemic new-normal.” 

The key insights explaining this decline in demand is supported by quantitative and qualitative data:

  • Inflation-adjusted daily c-store revenue has dropped 19% from Jan 2021 to Jan 2024 
  • 27% of respondents reported shopping less often at c-stores than they did a year ago
  • To replace their c-store trips, consumers said they shop for convenience items at grocery stores (77%), big-box retailers (68%), and dollar stores (65%)
  • Consumers also said they’re spending less on the types of items they would typically buy from c-stores. Reported spending in 10 of 13 convenience item categories is down — most notably bakery, prepared foods, and alcohol.

There is also evidence to suggest that retailers can win back purchases. Although customers don’t usually (on average) go from the pump inside the c-store, nearly 90% of fuel-only customers could be enticed to make an inside purchase with the right promotion.  About 35% of consumers belong to a fuel or c-store loyalty program, and when retailers provide customers with personalized promotions they see a 60% increase in pump-to-store conversion and an 80% increase in basket size among participating customers. 

Read and download the full report. For more information on how you can partner with Upside to enhance your loyalty program, positively influence customer behavior, and increase your program’s return on investment, visit 


Upside is a digital marketplace that connects millions of consumers with brick and mortar retailers nationwide. Since 2016, Upside's personalized offers have empowered individuals to gain greater purchasing power for their essential needs and helped businesses achieve measurable profits. Billions of dollars in commerce run through the Upside platform every year, and that value goes directly back to our retailers, the consumers they serve, and towards important sustainability initiatives. For more:


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