Product Sales Indicate Changing Purchase Behavior as Shoppers Establish New Patterns

It’s back-to-school time in many parts of the country and parents and schools are establishing new patterns for the Fall season. In the c-store space, CPG brands and retailers are partnering to proactively bring innovative new products to consumers. Simultaneously, brands and retailers are also responding to spiking consumer demand by increasing distribution for existing products. Today we take a look at SKU-level unit sales over the past six months to identify how consumer purchase behavior is trending in c-stores. Here’s a quick snapshot of the key takeaways:

  • Beverages and Snacks categories have the Fastest Growing SKU’s
  • Anheuser-Busch Inbev’s top SKU’s have seen modest changes in Units Sold Rankings
  • Hershey’s top SKU’s have experienced dramatic changes in the rankings of Units Sold

Selected Fastest Growing SKU’s
Koupon tracks nearly 20,000 individual products across convenience store retailers.  Today we’re using that data to look at SKU-level growth in two dimensions: growth in distribution (total number of stores in which the product is available) and growth in units sold. On that basis we selected ten products that represent interesting trends in Beverages, Candy and Snacks. The size of the bubble represents the relative number of units sold in July 2020.

Here’s what we uncovered: 

  • Beverage and Snack SKU’s are outpacing Candy SKU’s growth in unit sales
  • Jack Link’s Jalapeno Beef Jerky is growing at 150% while Jack Link’s Peppered Beef Steaks are growing at 40%
  • Ice cream SKU growth rates reflect both seasonal trends and much higher demand during the COVID-19 period
  • Crush Pineapple 20 Oz is growing in units sold at double the rate of distribution growth, demonstrating that established brands can capitalize on changing consumer tastes in 2020

Rankings : Anheuser-Busch InBev Top SKU Units Sold
Alcohol has been a strong category for retailers over the last few months (read more here), growing on a year-over-year and month-over-month basis. We explored AB InBev’s top SKU units sold rankings, to identify shifts in demand. Early in the crisis we notice modest adjustments in demand, with a return to historical rankings beginning in May. The only lasting change to note is that Bud Light 25 Oz traded places with Natural Light 25 Oz for the number 5 position.

Rankings: Hershey’s Top SKU Units Sold
We reported in an earlier post that Candy has seen growth with Chocolate products as consumers seek an indulgent snack (read more here). As we evaluate Hershey’s top SKU’s we see more dramatic shifts in rankings over the last few months. Here’s what we found:

  • Kit Kat® rose from a 9 position to 3 in April, and returned to 9 in June
  • Reese’s Stick has grown from number 4 to number 3, overcoming Reese’s Cup

Similar to what we saw with AB InBev, Hershey’s SKU Units Sold Rankings have returned nearly completely to the pre-crisis order, in this case by June.

As we’ve seen in today’s post, consumers continue to rely on trusted brands but remain open to new products – from both established and emerging brands. C-store retailers and CPG’s partner tirelessly to deliver new products and value to consumers, along with the convenience that consumers demand more than ever before. We expect continued in-store growth over the remainder of 2020. We will continue to monitor trends, share additional insights, and keep you informed.

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