Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS) released its first Future of Fueling Report. The report explores current consumer trends, where the industry is headed and how fueling and convenience store owners can future-proof their businesses amid fluctuating fuel prices, increasing demand for electric vehicles and a COVID-driven technological revolution at fuel sites.
“In The Future of Fueling Report, we set out to better understand end user preferences to prepare the fueling and convenience retail industry,” said Kendra Keller, vice president and general manager, North America at Dover Fueling Solutions. “We believe the findings in this report provide direction and actionable proactive steps c-store owners can take now to begin delivering on consumer expectations for the fueling experience of the future.”
The Future of Fueling Report findings reveal key themes that are shaping the industry:
- Future-state fueling: Consumers envision future gas stations to model the retro, animated series “The Jetsons,”according to anecdotal report data, including touchless and automatic self-services. DFS believes that these futuristic concepts could come to life via dedicated fueling lanes that offer fully contactless, digital-first experiences.
- Security and price transparency at the pumps: Amid increasing instances of skimming schemes, economic instability and fluctuating gas prices, a significant number of respondents cited payment security and price transparency as top concerns. Many forecourts have features and security solutions in place to mitigate such risks before they impact consumers. DFS recommends c-stores focus on educating consumers about these features and solutions to help assuage concerns.
- EV charging: DFS findings revealed that the majority of Gen Zers and millennials would be more likely to consider purchasing an EV if more gas stations offered EV charging. But there are generational and location-based discrepancies inhibiting uptake, indicating that c-store owners should consider their local market and customer base before installing.
- An evolved c-store: When asked what amenities would be most valuable in an EV-dominant future, respondents selected coffee shops/cafes (39%), followed by sit-down restaurants (29%) and business centers or places to work (11%). These findings indicate that c-stores may need to provide more immersive experiences to keep customers engaged while charging EVs for longer periods of time.
“Fueling and convenience retailers that take proactive steps to understand consumer preferences and prepare for both the near-term and longer-term future will set their business apart,” said Scott Negley, senior director, product management at Dover Fueling Solutions. “Integrating immersive and digital-first experiences among increasing EV adoption while factoring in generational preferences will be key for the future. Educating consumers on security measures and ensuring price transparency at the pumps is key in the near term.”
DFS conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers in July 2022 to better understand their sentiment around the current and future state of gas stations and convenience stores. All respondents were based in the U.S. and represent a sample that reflects U.S. census data in terms of age and gender identity. The survey results paint a picture of how consumers view the fueling and retail industry. The report offers a glimpse of where consumers think the industry is headed and what future solutions might win their loyalty.