Teenager food shopping

New research has revealed a demand for more convenience stores in communities among younger shoppers (18-24-year-olds).

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Community Barometer, which looks at how consumers feel about local services, found that 18–24-year-olds were the most keen on having more convenience stores in their local area compared to other age groups, and were the most positive about their local convenience store being a community hub.

Commenting on the findings, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The importance of convenience stores to older customers is well documented, with stores acting as social hubs and a support network for those that are vulnerable or less mobile, but these figures show that on areas like reducing loneliness, local shops are incredibly important to young people as well. It’s encouraging to see the continued relevance of convenience stores to the next generation of consumers.”

The report also found that while Post Offices and pharmacies have topped this year’s ranking of the services that have the most positive impact on a local area, there is a call for more bank branches at a local level.

The top three services that have the most positive impact locally are Post Offices, pharmacies and convenience stores. These same three services were also rated highest among local people as the most essential, with pharmacies considered the number one most essential local service, followed by Post Offices and convenience stores.

More than half of respondents believe that it would be beneficial for their local area to have more banks, topping the list of most wanted services.

The Barometer also highlighted the continuing importance of cash to local people, with only 8% of people saying they never withdraw cash. The report found that most common way that people get access to cash is through a free to use ATM in their local convenience store (60%), with around one in three (34%) able to get to a local bank branch to withdraw their money.

“UK consumers are sending a very clear message that a diverse range of local services are essential to the wellbeing of their communities,” said Lowman. “Convenience stores are increasingly acting as service hubs, including Post Office counters, prescription collections and banking services within their businesses, which are highly valued by their customers.”

Martin Roberts, group chief retail officer at Post Office, said: “I’m delighted that Post Offices have been recognised as having the most positive impact on a local area. Postmasters provide their communities with essential services, whether it’s banking, paying a bill, topping up gas and electricity cards or sending letters and gifts to loved ones. Consumers value face-to-face customer service and know that at their local Post Office they will be served by a trusted and knowledgeable Postmaster.

“Many branches are at the heart of the community and provide an opportunity to socialise helping to add to people’s general well-being. I’m grateful to Postmasters and their teams for all they do serving their communities and this report recognises their hard work and commitment.”