GasBuddy released its second quarterly study examining foot traffic in the U.S. fuel and c-store industry.
From April 1 to June 30, 2019, GasBuddy and Cuebiq analyzed aggregated, anonymized location visit data at more than 100 fuel and convenience store brands across the U.S. to understand foot traffic trends, provide geo-behavioral and consumer insights and identify the impact of key factors such as ratings and reviews on POI visits. To be considered a “visit,” a user must be within 30 meters of a fuel pump for between 2 and 30 minutes.
The report separates fuel and convenience brands into four segments based on their number of locations.
Brands who received the highest average foot traffic per station in their respective categories include Ohio-based Speedway (1000+ locations), Washington-based Costco (250–999 locations), Kentucky-based Thorntons (50–249 locations) and Texas-based Buc-ee’s (30–49 locations).
Newcomers in the second quarter including Safeway (250–999 locations), BellStores (50–249 locations) and Mickey Mart (30–49 locations) made the list of the top 10 brands with the highest foot traffic in their respective number-of-location segments.
“The second quarter marks the start of the summer driving season, with motorists taking advantage of frequent end-of-the-week getaways,” said Frank Beard, convenience store trends analyst at GasBuddy. “While our data shows that gas stations are busiest on Fridays, Saturdays and Thursdays, stations received some of the highest levels of traffic between lunch and dinner hours — reflecting a growing consumer awareness of c-stores as destinations for ‘one-stop shopping’ for gas, snacks, beverages and even freshly-prepared meals.”
Key study highlights include:
Late nights are great for quick bites
Today’s gas station convenience stores are destinations for beverages, snacks, and foodservice at all times of the day. Although the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner dayparts are busiest, 12.63% of visits occurred between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. during Q2. This reflects the fact that many Americans working non-traditional schedules often rely on the 24-hour convenience of the local gas station to meet their needs.
Costco retains the top spot
Washington-based Costco (250-999 locations) again captured the most foot traffic per station of any brand in any segment — more than four-and-a-half times the industry average. Other segment winners include Ohio-based Speedway (1,000+ locations), Kentucky-based Thorntons (50-249 locations), and Texas-based Buc-ee’s (30-49 locations).
Fridays are the busiest for fueling
Friday was the busiest day for fuel and convenience retailers in Q2 — claiming 16.54% of visits. Saturday came in second with 14.94%, and Thursday came in a close third with 14.31% of visits. The four busiest times were Friday at noon, 5 p.m., 4 p.m. and 3 p.m., followed by Saturday at noon.
Kroger wins the most states
Ohio-based Kroger captured the highest average footfall in seven states — one more than the previous quarter. Wawa came in a close second with five states, and Cumberland Farms and Costco tied with four wins each.
Consumers demand quality
Today’s customers prefer high-quality retail experiences. More than 2 million individual station ratings were submitted by GasBuddies during Q2, and stations with above-average ratings in the “overall experience” category drove 18.84% more visits than their below-average counterparts.