Convenience stores are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the cannabidiol (CBD) market. C-stores already carry most of the product categories that now feature CBD-infused options, and they’re already a one-stop shop for customers fueling up or buying cigarettes and energy drinks.
Still, CBD sales have faced challenges in the past year at convenience stores. At U.S. convenience stores, CBD products brought in $44.5 million in dollar sales, down 7.7% for the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2022, according to Chicago-based research firm IRI. Unit sales rolled in at 4.57 million, a drop of 18.8% compared to the previous year.
To succeed with CBD, c-stores need to position themselves as a destination for CBD products. That means featuring an array of products, from topicals to gummies and soft gels, in a range of price points. C-stores can also better appeal to shoppers by educating employees on the products, so they can answer shopper questions and help them select an item.
By focusing on popular and growing CBD product segments, c-stores can further appeal to shopper preferences.
When it comes to best-selling CBD products, electronic smoking devices ($17.4 million), vitamins ($11.3 million), bottled water ($3.44 million) and non-chocolate candy ($2.36 million) led dollar sales for the CBD category at convenience stores during the 52-week period ending April 17, 2022, per IRI. These are ideal segments for convenience stores to focus on as they look to expand their CBD inventory.
A number of CBD product categories saw a surge in dollar and unit sales over the past year as well. Electronic smoking devices led the way with dollar sales up 601.4% and unit sales growing 439.2%. Non-chocolate CBD candy dollar sales grew 31.7%, up 36.5%. Smokeless tobacco with CBD grew 56.0% in dollar sales, and 186.8% in unit sales. CBD-infused ready-to-drink coffee and tea dollar sales climbed 61%, with unit sales up 56.7%.
All of these offer an opportunity for convenience stores interested in expanding their CBD category.
Pet supplies are another area where CBD sales are becoming popular as customers with pets seek products to ease pain and anxiety in their animal companions. Dollar sales for pet supplies containing CBD were up 13.1% at c-stores, with unit sales up 57.6%, for the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2022. This segment offers a key opportunity for retailers.