The UK food and grocery convenience sector is set to grow to £42.2bn in five years’ time, according to figures revealed today by IGD at its Convenience Retail Conference.

The sector will have increased in value by more than a quarter from its current value of £33.6bn in 2011, and convenience’s share of the overall food and grocery market is expected to increase to 22.9% by 2016, compared to 21.4% by the end of this year.

IGD ShopperTrack research reveals that shoppers are seeing increasing benefits from using the convenience sector. It found that if fuel prices continue to rise, 50% of shoppers said they will use shops nearer to them to save on petrol costs; 46% of convenience store shoppers stated that the ability to walk to a store from home was a key factor when choosing a convenience store; and convenience store shoppers use the format on average three times a week.

Nick Everitt, director of retail insight at IGD, said: “The convenience sector is doing well in challenging conditions and outperforming the wider grocery market. 

“The convenience market’s success is down to a number of factors, including an ability to adapt to the changing demands of the UK population. Shoppers are, for example, increasingly favouring a ‘little and often’ approach, and convenience operators are responding by offering a wider range of product choices, including more fresh and chilled foods, such as fruit and vegetables.

“Convenience stores are also reaping the benefits of people cutting down on their car usage due to high petrol prices and so preferring to shop locally.”