7 Top Selling Products at Convenience Stores

According to the 2014 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, the number of U.S. convenience stores has increased to a record of 151,282 stores as of December 31, 2013, a 1.4% increase (2,062 stores) from the year prior. This number is almost five times the number of supermarkets (37,459) in the U.S, which reflects the lack of time consumers have to spend on shopping. As convenience stores expand the variety of products they carry, consumers are increasingly choosing to shop there for certain items instead of dealing with the hassle of grocery stores. Also, since 83.7% of convenience stores sell motor fuels, consumers are able to get two things done at once; fuel up their car and grab those few groceries they really need.

Knowing this, it’s important for convenience store owners to stock their shelves with the top selling c-store items and below is a list of seven of those items.


  1. OTC Medications

It’s 10pm, you have a massive headache and your medicine cabinet is empty. Since pharmacies are closed by this time and some grocery stores have also shut their doors for the night, the best and possibly only option is to quickly head over to that convenience store a mile down the road and grab some ibuprofen. This is an all too common scenario and it’s one of the reasons why OTC medications are a top seller at convenience stores.

  1. Fast Food Items

Most convenience stores have some type of fast food offering, such as hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, pizza, etc. Customers love having the option to grab a quick bite to eat instead of dealing with large crowds and long lines at other food locations. And since c-stores are so prevalent, people don’t have to travel too far to find one.

  1. Chips & Candy

This one is most likely a no-brainer considering the popularity of these types of snacks among consumers. People might not enter a convenience store with the purpose of purchasing a candy bar, but unless they have superhuman self-control, those candy selections right in front of their face while they wait online are just too tempting. Whether it’s an impulse purchase or the only reason for the visit to the c-store, these items sell extremely well.

  1. Toiletries & Other Personal Essentials

Selling toiletries and other personal essentials are essential to a thriving convenience store. Things like toilet paper, shampoo, diapers, and deodorant for example sell very well in c-stores because these are common items consumers need, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of a grocery store to get.

  1. Soda, Water, Coffee & Energy Drinks

As I write this post, I’m drinking the last sips of an energy drink that I purchased from a convenience store a few days ago. After I filled up my car with gas, I ran inside and quickly grabbed four drinks to get me through the next few days. Taking a look around, I noticed that the few other customers in the store also were getting beverages. Convenience stores are major sellers of beverages because most people don’t want to have to deal with the long drive thru lanes or long lines at a coffee shop to get their fix, be it coffee, soda, energy drinks, or water. 95% of all convenience stores sell coffee due to its extreme popularity, but with tons of competition, c-stores are increasing the value and coffee choices they offer in order to build customer loyalty.

  1. Beer

Considering Americans consume around 15.7 gallons of beer daily, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the top selling items in convenient stores. People who want to quickly grab a six pack and get back home in time for the game to start usually aren’t going to travel miles to find a liquor store or fight the lines at grocery stores, instead they’ll stop in to one of the many c-stores located near them.

  1. Tobacco

Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco are huge sellers in convenience stores. In 2011, 293 billion cigarettes, 124.6 million pounds of smokeless tobacco and 13.7 billion cigars were sold in America. Tobacco products are known to be very addictive, so those who consume these products need to buy often and usually end up purchasing from convenience stores.