The SGF/ACS Scottish Local Shop Report provides a useful breakdown of the customer demographics in convenience stores in Scotland.

It shows that most customers – 33% – are drawn from Generation X: the cohort of people born roughly between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s. 

This is not a bad place to be. This demographic group actually has quite a lot of economic power, are in their best earning years and are moving towards the top of their chosen careers. Overall, Generation X tends to spend more on the things they 
want than the other social demographics. 

The challenge for convenience stores for the rest of this decade could be to work out how to attract the next demographic group. These are the much-discussed millennials; those aged between 25 and 34.

Broadly speaking, millennials are tending to put off some of the bigger decisions in life such as buying a house or starting a family – they tend not to be as interested in ‘ownership’ as previous generations. 

They are very brand conscious, but they want brands that provide maximum convenience at the lowest cost. They are very health conscious; exercise is important as is healthy eating and healthy eating is one place where they are prepared to spend big on purchasing the right kind of brand.

Millennials are ‘digital natives’ and their affinity for technology is shaping the way they shop. They are used to having instant access to product information, price comparisons and peer reviews.

How can convenience stores adapt to ensure they capture this next generation of shoppers? Their on-the-go tech-savvy lifestyle and strong focus on health and wellbeing could well provide very useful clues. 

Pete Cheema is chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation