Fuel Stops Make C-Store Shoppers Go

Kantar study: convenience factor still high on consumers’ priority list.

While purchasing gasoline is the most common trip driver to convenience stores, it is especially likely to drive convenience store trips in the Midwest and South. On the other hand, commuting stops (i.e., “stop in on way to/from work or school”) and trips to buy a meal are significantly more likely in the Northeast.

That’s according to newly released “Kantar Retail’s Breakthrough Insights.”

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The research also found that parents and younger shoppers are highly engaged with the channel for a wider range of trip missions, especially those with children in the household. Shoppers with children specifically over-index in making all but one major trip type (buying specific items other than gasoline). Specifically, parents over-indexed the most on commuting stops and stopping in while running other errands.


Aside from buying gasoline (63%), Gen Y was most likely to stop in when traveling out of town (45%), running errands (26%) or on the way to/from work or school (22%). However, unlike parents (70%), this group doesn’t over-index on making trips to primarily buy gasoline.

Additional findings from the research include:

  • 49% of consumers tend to always go to a specific store, whereas 51% will go to whichever store is most convenient at the moment. This suggests that there is an opportunity to both reward loyal shoppers and satisfy the functional needs of convenience-seeking shoppers.
  • Convenience store shoppers are extremely loyal to the brands of Wawa, QuickTrip and Sheetz in terms of shopping at a specific store. 72% of Wawa shoppers, 60% of QuickTrip shoppers and 58% of Sheetz shoppers tend to stop at specific store rather than what is most convenient.
  • These three stores are generally regarded as best in class in terms of store experience and execution, along with an in-store experience that resonates with shoppers. Additionally, each retailer is highly engaged with shoppers on social media and effectively leverages mobile technology to further deepen shopper engagement, specifically in the form on rewarding loyal shoppers.
  • 27% of shoppers look for healthy food/snack options, but only 20% said that their recent shopping experience have met that condition, suggesting there is room for improvement in this area. Comparatively, consumers’ expectations are exceeded when it comes to beverage selection. 30% of shoppers said having a wide selection of beverages is important and 35% said that their recent experience met that condition.
  • Pricing is the area where convenience stores can most improve. 64% of shoppers said price is important, but only 49% said that their recent shopping experience met that condition.