C-store revenue is up, but is that the whole picture?

Headlines report that c-store revenue is up across the industry, but transaction data from over 1,700 c-stores tells a surprising story of declining demand.

Daily c-store transactions have steadily decreased year-over-year since January 2022

As of January 2024, shoppers are transacting 12% less often year-over-year

— the largest decline across four years of data

Adjusted for inflation, the average daily c-store revenue is down 19% from
January 2021 to January 2024

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What’s behind the downturn in demand?

Upside analyzed 1,700 c-stores and interviewed 1,500 consumers to find out.

Revenue reporting is not adjusted for inflation

Store revenue and spend per transaction appear to be increasing, but looking at the data in 2019 dollars tells a different story. Observed top-line growth, after the pandemic shift, is driven by inflation.

Transactions are down year-over-year and continuing to fall

As of January 2024, shoppers were transacting 12% less often compared to last January. That’s the largest year-over-year decline across four years of data.

Consumer price sensitivity is partially to blame for falling demand

In an Upside survey of 1,500 shoppers, respondents reported reasons around cost as the primary driver of their decision to pull back from c-store spend.

It’s not just the number of transactions that are down. The number of items per transaction has seen a similar downward trend.

Dig into the data

Get a look at the whole picture. Download our report on declining c-store demand and what retailers can do about it now.