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10 Surprising Facts About Convenience Stores

Updated on February 24, 2013

The Convenience of Convenience Stores

Convenience stores are pretty...well, convenient. They are so prevalent, in fact, that we probably take them highly for granted. With that in mind, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at some of the stats relating to convenience stores. Some of the facts here may actually surprise you.

(Photo Source:


Fact #1: Convenience Store Coffee

Convenience stores sell an average of 11 million cups of coffee every day. 11 Million! In conjunction with that, they also sell, on a daily basis, millions of danishes, donuts, muffins, etc.

(Poster available at

Fact #2: Convenience Store Purchases

Approximately $1 out of every $23 dollars spent in America is spent at convenience stores. That's the equivalent of about $1.7 billion dollars daily. (With those kinds of numbers, it almost makes you want to buy a franchise.)

Fact #3: Convenience Store Customer Visits

The average convenience store visit takes roughly 3.5 minutes. By comparison, the average customer visit at a grocery store takes 41 minutes.

Fact #4: Convenience Store Design

You may have noticed that convenience stores often appear very similar in in terms of layout. It may actually surprise you to know that this is completely intentional, as convenience are generally designed to have 3 zones:

Decompression Zone

This is basically the entry of the store. The intent is simply to allow the consumer to see the entire store in not much more than a glance.

Impulse Zone

This zone is comprised of the things that customers are exposed to upon entering and exiting the store. For instance, the coffee, sandwiches, etc. that are up front. Needless to say, the hope is that you'll buy certain things on impulse that you may not have

Destination Zone

This area is basically the periphery of the store. It's for customers who are looking for something specific (e.g., a carton of milk or beverages). These are deliberately placed at the back of the store so that customers are forced to pass through other areas (and by other products).

Source:; Original uploader: Anthony
Source:; Original uploader: Anthony

Fact #5: Name Origins of 7 Eleven, Wawa, and Circle K

7 Eleven

The name of 7 Eleven convenience stores is derived from their original hours of operation: 7am - 11pm. It is the largest operator, franchisor and licensor of cenvenience stores in the world.

Wawa Food Markets

The Wawa convenience store chain grew out of Wawa Dairy Farms, and gets its name from Wawa, Pennsylvania - the location of both the company's corporate headerquarters and its first milk plant. It is the largest convenience store chain in greater Philadelphia and the 3rd-largest food retailer in that region.

Circle K

Circle K got it's name when Fred Hervey bought 3 Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas in 1951. Hervey, who would later serve two terms as mayor of El Paso, changed the name to Circle K. It has the second-largest number of convenience stores (after 7 Eleven) in the U.S.

(Photo Source: Original Uploader - Anthony at en.wikipedia.)

Fact #6: Convenience Store Population

There are 144,000 convenience stores in the United States. Most are open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. They account for $28 billion in annual transactions.

Fact #7: Beer Sales

Convenience stores sell a whopping 2 billion gallons of beer every year - approximately one-third of all beer sold in America. (I fact, beer accounts for 10% of in-store sales.)

Poll on Convenience Stores

When was the last time you visited a convenience store?

See results

Fact #8: Gasoline Sales

Two-thirds of convenience store sales are made at the gas pump. Moreover, convenience stores account for 80% of all U.S. gas sales.

(Photo Source: Original Uploader - Aaron Lawrence at en.wikipedia.)

Fact #9: Variety of Products

The average inventory of a convenience store includes roughly 5,000 individual products!


Fact #10: Slurpees!

The 7 Eleven chain has sold over 6 billion (yes, billion with a "b") since 1966. Slurpees account for $170 million in sales each year.

(Photo Source: Original Uploader - Nehrams2020 at en.wikipedia.)


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