The UK convenience sector will ring in at a weighty £42.2bn in value within five years, according to latest figures unveiled by IGD at its Convenience Retail Conference.

This would mark a rise of more than a quarter from 2011’s predicted sales value of £33.6bn.

Convenience’s share of the overall food and grocery market is also expected to increase to 22.9% by 2016, compared with 21.4% by the end of this year.

The sector saw an increase this year from £32.1bn in 2010 to its current value of £33.6bn.

“The convenience sector is doing well in challenging conditions and outperforming the wider grocery market,” said IGD director of retail insight Nick Everitt. The convenience market’s success could be attributed to a number of factors, including an ability to adapt to the changing demands of the UK population, he explained.

“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,” he said.

The growing consumer desire to support local shops and reduce car usage was also benefitting the channel and would continue to do so, he added.

IGD’s chief economist James Walton also praised the sector’s robust nature. “It’s a proven concept that has survived several recessions and is more resilient than it is often given credit for,” he said. “There is an exciting growth opportunity within convenience as long as retailers are able to distingush themselves from the competition.”