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    Motor Fuels

    Morning rush: It’s no surprise that convenience is more important to those who purchase gas at c-stores from 6 a.m.–9 a.m. Late morning shoppers are more likely to be swayed by price.

    Once considered a male activity, female consumers are now more likely than men to pump fuel at a convenience store. A total of 82 percent of the women surveyed by CSNews said they bought fuel at a c-store in the past month vs. 77 percent of men.

    The top concern for women in their fueling decisions is price, with 70 percent of females saying this is extremely important vs. 64 percent of men. Convenience is also top of mind for women, with 53 percent citing this factor as extremely important, compared to 41 percent of men.

    Conversely, fuel branding is less important for women, as only 23 percent cited this factor as extremely important vs. 21 percent of men.

    Women and men also show their differences when it comes to loyalty to a particular c-store. Females are much more willing to shop around to find fuel at desired prices. More women purchase fuel from gas-only locations, supercenter/mass merchandisers, supermarkets and truck stop plazas than their male counterparts.

    The big question for c-store operators remains: Are gas station visits turning into subsequent in-store merchandise purchases at a higher rate? The answer is a resounding “yes.”

    More than 84 percent of respondents overall said they purchase in-store merchandise when they stop for gas at a convenience store. Men are more likely to make the jaunt from the gas pump to the c-store, with 87 percent saying they do so at least some of the time, vs. 83 percent of women. In fact, 9 percent of men said they purchase in-store merchandise at c-stores all of the time, one percentage point higher than women.

    Promotional efforts are beginning to pay off in the conversion of fuelers to shoppers. A solid 43 percent of all respondents said a promotional activity influenced his or her decision to purchase in-store merchandise following a trip to purchase gas. Frequent buyer/loyalty programs were cited as the most influential, followed by pumptoppers, promotional signage, banners/window signs, gasoline nozzle/display ads and car wash promotions, respectively.

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