Consumer companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo both announce earnings this week and hope gas savings will translate to people buying more of their products. Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, said when people think about convenience stores, they think about beverages.
“Low gas prices don’t make you thirstier, but it gives you permission to satisfy that need,” he said. “People see the savings at the pump, they go right inside the store and they have their immediate consumption.”
The Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington D.C. said Americans spent more than $70 billion on non-alcoholic beverages in December 2015. Convenience stores saw a 5 percent bump in sales in the fourth quarter.
Coca Cola and Pepsi still demand a lot of shelf space, but not just for red and blue cans, anymore. Jeffrey Klineman, editor of the beverage trade media company, BevNET, said Americans, especially young ones, want more options.
“The idea of healthy body refueling has become much more important to the convenient store business,” he said.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi are banking that even if consumers don’t buy a soda, they’ll pick up one of their bottled waters or energy drinks.