New research has found that a coffee shop is no longer the stop of choice for a coffee on the go, with more than eight in 10 consumers preferring to pick up a coffee from a self-service machine in a shop or forecourt. As consumers continue to seek out convenience, they look for coffee as part of their daily routine, whether filling up with petrol or popping to the supermarket.

In fact, the top four times when consumers are likely to buy a coffee on-the-go are: When it’s the nearest coffee on offer; a treat; when it’s cheaper than a coffee shop; weekday mornings on the way to work.

The findings on consumer convenience behaviours are included in a new report from Nestlé Professional, called Mind the Gap: Driving frictionless coffee to-go experiences

The research study of 1,500 consumers also explores consumer attitudes towards payments in the convenience sector and found that nine out of ten consumers now buy coffee to go and nearly half prefer to purchase it when it is offered from a well-known brand.

More than a fifth (22%) of customers have become so used to technology speeding up shopping experiences that they no longer expect to have to queue to make payments. As such, Nestlé Professional has identified the optimum ‘Convenience Gap’ (the time consumers are willing to wait after ordering) for takeaway products, such as coffee, is between two and three minutes.

This is an ideal time for brands to communicate their key messages to consumers and the research found that sustainability should be top of the list. Consumers are currently seeking out the ‘feel good factor’ that comes with buying an environmentally-sound product.

As demonstrated by some of the additional findings in the report:

● Two thirds [62%] would be more likely to buy coffee to-go if they could use their own cup.

● Nearly four in 10 [39%] coffee lovers say they try to buy coffee to-go responsibly but sometimes don’t feel they are able to.

● One third [37%] assume bigger brand coffee is responsibly sourced.

● The majority [57%] would use a reusable cup If they could get a discount on future coffee purchases.

● The majority of consumers [51%] would be more likely to choose convenience coffee if there was no queue.

Consumer behavioural expert, Kate Cooper-Fay, CEO of CXY Limited, said: “’The key is to increase spend per basket and sell higher margin products, such as coffee to-go, as part of the shop. The coffee to-go proposition also provides an opportunity to make the convenience space a destination in its own right. With higher quality coffee-to-go offerings making an appearance, I expect we may even see a shift to coffee purchasing being the main reason people visit a convenience store, which is why it’s essential to get the offering right.”

The report includes top tips for convenience retailers including, the benefits of sampling to educate consumers on the taste, the importance of relevant POS with clear branding that brings provenance as well as brand identity to drive revenues for retailers.

Commenting on the report, Kate Alexander, Head of Channel – Leisure & On The Go at Nestlé Professional, said:

“Frictionless convenience, where the consumer can enjoy almost instant gratification in a fast, easy and personalised shopping experience, is a trend gathering serious pace. Millennials and Gen Z in particular are driving an on-demand and increasingly technological culture where convenience is redefined as services that are available at the push of a button, anytime, anywhere. On-the-go retail spaces fulfil this need by providing easy access to goods as part of an accelerated lifestyle.”