GasBuddy, the smartphone app that helps consumers avoid paying full price for fuel, has released its latest quarterly study examining foot traffic in the $654 billion fuel and convenience retailing industry across the United States. This analysis examined more than 24 million consumer visits between July 1 - September 30, 2019.
The report separates fuel and convenience brands into four segments—based on their number of locations—and reveals rankings based on average footfall per station. It also provides additional insights into consumer behaviors and the factors that influence them.
Meet Me for Lunch at the Gas Station
Watch out quick-service restaurants: today's convenience stores are aiming to eat you for lunch. While the morning gas station coffee run has long been an American routine, the busiest hours during Q3 were all in the afternoon and early evening—highlighting the growing trend of convenience stores owning the lunch daypart.
Costco Narrowly Retains the Top Spot
Washington-based Costco (250 - 999 locations) once again captured the most foot traffic per station of any brand in any segment—nearly four times the industry average with a score of 3.98. It was a close call however, as Kentucky-based Thorntons (50 - 249 locations) followed with a score of 3.90. Other segment winners include Ohio-based Speedway (1,000+ locations), and Indiana-based Ricker's (30 - 49 locations) which overtook longtime segment winner Texas-based Buc-ee’s.
Fridays are the Busiest for Fueling
Friday was the busiest day for fuel and convenience retailers in Q3 with 15.61% of weekly visits. However, the spread between the busiest and slowest days was only 2.66 percentage points—a sign that today's retailers are meeting customer needs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Kroger Wins the Most States
Ohio-based Kroger captured the highest average footfall in seven states. Wawa came in a close second with five states, and Cumberland Farms and Costco tied with four wins each. Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip came in fifth by winning all three states in which they operate.
If They See It, They Will Come
Today's customers demand that retailers meet their needs for cleanliness, hospitality, and especially safety. More than 2 million individual station ratings were submitted by GasBuddies during Q3, and stations with above-average outdoor lighting ratings drove 16.54% more visits than their below-average counterparts.