Across the U.S. retail landscape, the convenience channel has been the offline channel to watch over the past year. With the country in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the convenience channel is poised to be even more dominant as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

Last November, Nielsen forecasted that the U.S. convenience channel would grow faster than all other offline channels over the next five years. When we look at the importance of proximity to our homes and the desire among many to avoid large crowds, convenience stores have the ability to write their own future. To do so, they need to embrace the opportunity to expand beyond categories traditionally expected from the channel. Baking staples, for example, aren’t common on the shelves at most C-stores, but sales of the category have been on an upward trend across the U.S. since the week of March 14, 2020, as consumers settled into restricted living conditions. The same can be said for household cleaners and fresh meats. As consumers begin to evolve into their new normal, convenience stores can put themselves into the consideration set for these new need states.