Convenience stores are losing some of their most important customers, according to a report from MCA Insight and HIM – two leading research insight agencies across the foodservice, eating out and grocery retail sectors.

Their latest research found that the average age of shoppers in convenience has risen to 48, with the share of shoppers under the age of 34 declining by two percentage points in the past year.

The recently launched HIM UK Convenience Report 2019 highlighted that 28% of shoppers in the convenience channel are under the age of 34, compared with 30% last year. This fall in younger shoppers is one of the catalysts for a decline in the number of shoppers purchasing on impulse in the channel – 13% of shoppers made an impulse purchase this year, compared to 17% of shoppers in 2018.

Shoppers aged 18-24 are the most likely to purchase on impulse in convenience, with 16% doing so in the last year. Driving footfall from younger shoppers is key to ensuring a store remains relevant to future generations.

The report highlights factors that are key to attracting younger shoppers, such as 18-24’s are 46% more likely to buy a meal deal compared with convenience average and 16% of Gen Z year olds and 23% of Millennials are following a high protein diet compared with only 6% of 45 – 54 year olds.

Blonnie Walsh, senior insight manager at HIM and MCA Insight said: “It may be cliché, but younger consumers are the shopper of the future, yet they under index in the convenience channel. Retailers need the support of wholesalers and suppliers to understand the needs of younger shoppers and the best ways of engaging them better.

“Food to go has been a talking point for some time, however strong competition from FTG specialists is eating away at convenience’s share of the market. In general, younger shoppers behave differently to older generations and retailers need to adapt their approach in order to cater for both. Speed and ease of shop are more important to younger shoppers than older shoppers.”