With nearly 25% of the U.S. workforce telecommuting during the height of the pandemic lockdown in April 2020, shoppers limited personal travel, stayed close to home and made the most out of every outing. By September of the same year, NACS Convenience Voices recorded a shift in the majority of shopping trips to short, local occasions.
Fast forward to the third quarter of 2021 and preliminary results from the 2021 NACS Convenience Voices program reflect a healthy percentage (38%) of convenience shoppers still working or attending school at home. The convenience shoppers that are still virtual include the most valuable, high-frequency core customer—outpacing the average convenience shopper in both daily and multiple trips throughout the week.
More than 80% of the U.S. population is reported to live within five miles of a convenience store, and great corners plus proximity to the community are paying huge dividends. Although 15% of shoppers who work/school from home report that they intend to remain 100% virtual and don’t plan to return to the commute, 61% of the same group anticipate physically returning to work/school by year’s end. The increase in commuting and overall mobility should bolster morning traffic and add much needed sales momentum during the fourth quarter of 2021.