Convenience sales will sizzle with a big summer of sport ahead!

The forecast of warmer weather, long awaited easing of lockdown restrictions, and a big summer of sport are all predicted to result in strong sales across several key categories this summer.

This year is an extra special one for sports fans, as in addition to events such as Wimbledon Tennis and the European Football Championships, major upcoming sporting events include the British Grand Prix (16-18 July) and the 2020 Olympics, which are being held in Tokyo (23rd July to 8th August). Much to look forward to over the summer months.

Staycations to heat up Convenience sales this summer

More people are choosing staycations this summer than ever before, and BBQ’s and garden furniture sales have increased more than ten-fold, making outdoor dining, and entertaining a key moment for shoppers and destination driving need-state when visiting convenience stores. 

This is a big opportunity for retailers, whether armchair spectators watching sport alone or with groups of family or friends gathering in homes, they tend to turn sporting events into social or special treat occasions. Great news for retailers, especially those with a game plan to react quickly to fast changing shopper needs.

Recent research pre pandemic showed that 7 in 10 shoppers choose supermarkets over c-stores when buying for events like this. The main reasons cited being price perception and range availability. However, as a result of the Pandemic shopper behaviour has changed, and there has been a significant increase in shoppers choosing to shop locally for their bigger shops, making independent stores better placed to grow their sales linked to events this year.  

Whether it’s a get-together with the family or a group of friends, this presents big opportunities across a number of categories to ensure your category is ready to meet these new demands. 

Think Ice Cream!

Categories that see big uplifts in the summer and are linked to entertaining occasions include Beers, Wines and Spirits, Soft Drinks and Energy Drink, Ice Cream and Snacking categories. Ice Cream alone had an increase in sales of 28.9%* last summer. Opportunities to focus on this summer will include ice creams multipacks for those in-home occasions, particularly as the weather heats up.  Last year Take Home Ice Cream grew ahead of Impulse Ice Cream due to less out of home occasions. 

It’s important to make sure that the cabinet is clean, tidy and well stocked. Additionally, on a warm day, flagging up the fact that a store sells ice cream can boost sales by up to 42%.  Check out our latest category advice here on range and stand out.

BBQ’s drive sales of Condiments and Sauces

Thinking of the BBQ event needs, then as well as the traditional items such as meat, fish, and salad, you should be thinking about your Condiments and Sauces category. Last summer saw increases in penetration across the category, and these will be especially important if the weather forecast is good. Mayonnaise, Mustard and Ketchup saw an increase in consumption with more meals at home and the hot summer increasing BBQ occasions significantly, a trend forecast to repeat itself this summer. What’s more, consumers tried more speciality and flavoured mustards as they looked for that “out of home experience” in-home, so make sure you are catering for the wider repertoire. Position extras and accompaniments, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressings, near the meat and fish fixtures to make the shopper mission easy and bag incremental purchases. Make sure your Condiments and Sauces fixture is ready for summer here!

Opportunities for other categories too!

There are also good opportunities to grow sales across many other less obvious categories too, the Household and Personal Care categories being a case in point. 

Whilst in some cases people will simply be watching their ‘Summer of Sport’, history has shown an increase in activity following events, as spectators become motivated to kickstart or ramp-up their own physical well-being.

Research has shown that consumers that have been physically active apply a deodorant 3-4 times a day (that’s 2-3 times more than most consumers). This leads to an increase in daily consumption, so it pays for retailers to keep deodorants front of mind in the summer. (Unilever H&E Studies 2017-2019 US, Brazil, ARG, UK). Check out our Personal Care category advice, here

And there are key moments for the home care category as lockdown rules ease & major sports events kick off. As people start to engage in sport again, there will be an increased need for laundry detergents that can remove stains.  Some shoppers may also wish to use a laundry sanitiser to give them extra piece of mind. Is your Laundry category match fit? Check out our advice here!

Also, people simply intending to watch sports events together with friends and family results in a rise in home entertaining, and more people using home care products to prepare in advance of their guests arriving…and after their event has finished, they clean up the mess! Anecdotally, after the 2018 World Cup, carpet cleaner sales increased significantly. Clean up with your Home Cleaning category here!

Advice from our Retailer Advisory Panel on how to make the most of the summer of sport. 

Promotional Deals

Multi-buys and cross-category merchandising are highly recommended, as 46% of shoppers say promotions would influence them to buy from a c-store.

Create In-Store Theatre 

A special themed fixture is a great way to build excitement. Competitions including event-associated products could also be a great way to disrupt the shopper and prompt purchase. 

Shout about your Offers

Flag them up through signage instore and use social media – Twitter, Facebook etc – to tell people what’s on offer. Offering entry into a prize draw for people who like, share, and comment on posts can really spread the word and bring customers into store.

Mandeep Singh of Singh’s Premier in Sheffield comments; “Social media has been an invaluable tool helping us engage with our customer base and attract new customers through word of mouth, particularly during the Pandemic.  It has enabled us to promote new products, price deals, events and new services like our new Singh’s Drop delivery service. Over the last year we’ve increased our members by a staggering 11,000 followers, which takes us to in excess of 29,000 members. Check out how Mandeep uses social media to grow his business, here

Different deals for different groups

Make sure you’ve got something for everyone and tailor your communications:

  • 59% of men planned to watch Euro 2016 and 30% of women – so think deals targeting men
  • 60% of people planned to watch the Olympics with their partner – so offer meal solutions for couples
  • A third of people will watch with friends (even higher for 18 to 34-year-olds)– multi-buy (BOGOF) promotions
  • A quarter of people will watch Euro 2021 on their own (higher for 45 to 75-year-olds) – so highlight ‘treat for myself’ offers
  • Over 23% will watch the Olympics with children – communicate family pack sizes & multi-buy promotions

With meteorologists finally forecasting a long hot summer, use our unbiased advice to make sure your store is well placed to cater for the increased demand spaces and see your sales heat up.  

Squeeze more out of your categories this summer using our unbiased category advice, here!


  1. him! Bitesize Insight: Preparing for sporting events

  2. Nielsen: GB Total Coverage Total Impulse, Take Home Ice Cream, 13 we 29.8.20, Value sales +28.9% vs year ago

  3. Nielsen: GB Total Coverage Total Impulse, Dressings, 13 we 29.8.20, Value sales +37.6% vs year ago

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