CSP Daily News is a publication dedicated to convenience store news and industry updates, and it offers a fascinating peek into how massive retailers view the average customer. If you’ve ever wanted to see your entire self distilled to the 1s and 0s of your spending habits, this is the website for you.
CSP recently published an interview with Andrew Lee, senior category manager of center-store merchandising for 7-Eleven. In it, Lee mentions the retail chain’s ambitious plans for becoming America’s top candy destination, since candy is a huge seller for the company. This summer, 7-Eleven will even unveil a proprietary line of premium Belgian chocolate with a “highly approachable price point” and is in the process of collaborating with Japanese candy Hi-Chew on “exclusive fruit combinations like passion fruit and mango.” As someone who can still mentally walk the aisles of my childhood 7-Eleven and make a beeline for the Fun Dip, I encourage such innovation.
But Lee had more interesting intel on how 7-Eleven views its customer base, and how retail plays the long game. Boomers, the biggest chocolate devotees and brand loyalists of the bunch, account for the most sales of things like Heath and Baby Ruth bars. Millennials and Gen Z, meanwhile, have a higher affinity for non-chocolate candy, and can’t seem to get enough sour stuff (so if it seems like there’s more sour candy on the shelves every time you visit, you’re not imagining things). And those aren’t the only demographics being considered: The company also has a strategy for catering to Gen Alpha, or those born after 2010. Currently, that group seems to be drawn toward novelty sets the most, such as Kinder Joy, the chocolate egg with a fun toy inside. Lee credits this to Gen Alpha’s “focus on surprise and delight items,” which sounds like a clinical way of saying “they’re mostly toddlers.”
“We are committed to being a destination for customers to pick up the fun, novelty and limited-edition products they crave,” Lee tells CSP. Noted, but I assure you, 7-Eleven was already my go-to destination for purchasing candy to sneak into the movie theater.