The UK convenience sector is set to grow to £42.2bn in five years’ time, according to the latest figures unveiled by IGD at its Convenience Retail Conference.

This would mark a rise of more than a quarter from its current value of £33.6bn in 2011.

Convenience’s share of the overall food and grocery market is also expected to increase to 22.9% by 2016, compared to 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 is down to a number of factors, including an ability to adapt to the changing demands of the UK population.

IGD’s chief economist James Walton said convenience is more resilient than often given credit for. “It’s a proven and robust concept that has survived several recessions,” he said.

Everitt added that changing shopper behaviours have benefited the channel. “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. “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.”

According to IGD research, 50% of shoppers are using their local stores more often due to rising petrol prices.