Do you know how your fuel customers like to be rewarded for loyally filling up at your convenience store? Well now a new study on consumer behavior, titled “The Road to Rewards,” is shedding light on what c-store customers prefer when it comes to gas rewards.
The study is part of the Excentus Insights Series, and features results from a July 2015 survey of American consumers. The report found that more than 54% belong to loyalty programs that enable them to save on the cost of fuel and rank these programs No. 1 for membership and activity over credit-card cash-back rewards, coupons, discounts, airline miles, hotel points and other rewards programs.
The company’s Road to Rewards report also found that:
37% of consumers ranked fuel savings as their preferred rewards program, followed by
32% credit-card cashback programs
25% retailer/brand coupons
24% (tie) credit card rewards and cash-register instant discounts
22% retailer-specific points/rewards
17% airline miles
16% restaurant/grocer rewards
14% hotel points
Of the American consumers surveyed, nearly half of (46%) said they earn, buy, redeem or check their fuel-savings rewards daily or weekly. When asked why they join rewards programs, 47% said they like saving money any way they can and 23% like earning rewards on everyday purchases.
The survey also confirmed previous findings from Excentus, which operates the nationwide Fuel Rewards program, about consumers’ preference for fuel discounts even when gasoline prices fluctuate. More than two-thirds of the survey respondents (67%) said they pay attention to gas prices, and consumers agreed it is important to save on fuel when gas prices rise (64%) or fall (54%).
Many choices, clear preferences for incentives
“This survey confirms what our merchant partners and over 5 million members have been telling us for the last three years,” said Brandon Logsdon, president and CEO of Dallas-based Excentus. “Today’s consumers clearly value the ability to earn rewards – like fuel savings – that have a meaningful and tangible impact on their household budget, making everyday life more affordable. At a time when consumers have so many choices for marketplace incentives and loyalty programs, it’s not surprising that the rewards they prefer and engage with most actively are built into everyday shopping and spending routines with their favorite merchants.”
According to the report, consumers belong to fuel-saving rewards programs offered by grocery stores (68%), retail stores (22%), credit cards (16%) and restaurants/dining venues (7%). When asked why they join, 46% said the rewards are offered as part of an existing loyalty program, 40% join to save money, 37% to earn rewards where they already shop, 19% to save on the cost of driving and 15% because the incentive is linked to a credit card.
Incentives to save on fuel can also influence consumer shopping behavior and retailer brand preferences, according to the Excentus report. Almost one in five consumers (19%) would choose a different brand to earn 25-50 cents per gallon on fuel, 17%-20% would switch retailers to earn 25 cents to $1 per gallon on fuel, and 20% would purchase in-store rather than online to earn 25-50 cents per gallon on fuel.
Powerful driver of consumer behaviors
“In a country that’s highly dependent on vehicles for transportation, the ability to save on fuel can serve as a powerful driver of consumer behaviors and preferences,” Logsdon pointed out.
Additional findings from the survey include:
Millennials (ages 18-34) are more than twice as likely as other age groups to track their rewards from a mobile app (33% Millennials; 16% ages 35-54; 6% ages 55+)
Midwestern consumers (57%) are more likely than those in the West (56%), South (52%) and Northeast (50%) to belong to a fuel-savings rewards program
Women and men participate equally in fuel-savings programs (54% female, 53% male), while participation based on income varied by 11% (47% under $50,000, 58% over $50,000)
The survey of 1,016 U.S. consumers was conducted during July 10-13, 2015 by Ipsos eNation on behalf of Excentus Corp. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.