Outmatch your competition: Fuel industry report

We surveyed 1,300 customers, spoke with dozens of retailers, and analyzed billions of transactions to learn how competitive retailers outmatch their competition

April 20, 2021
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Outmatch your competition: Fuel industry report
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Outmatch your competition: Fuel industry report

All fuel retailers compete to sell more gasoline. The best in the business have created new lanes to drive more gallons and in-store purchases, and their end-of-year profits prove it works.

Winning gallons in today’s market environment is only becoming more difficult. The typical U.S. fuel retailer has at least one competitive gas station only 0.016 miles away, and at least 1.5 stations within a half-mile radius. Not only do customers have a lot of choices when it is time to fill-up, but they need less gasoline. The pandemic made 2020 an exceptional year—with demand for fuel down 20% to 25% year-over-year in many regions—but what is troublesome is that the Energy Information Administration estimates it will take years to return to 2019 levels, if ever.

The retailers that are winning the market today have become laser-focused on the factors that drive a customer to choose them. They also accept that those factors are different from what they once were, and that they need to go beyond the “traditional” in oil and gas to outmatch their competition.  

What is beyond the “traditional?”

We surveyed 1,300 fuel consumers, spoke with fuel retailers, and analyzed of billions of fuel transactions nationwide to answer questions like:

  • What do customers think make for the most attractive stations & c-stores?
  • What do retailers think of their current pricing strategies?
  • Beyond loyalty sign ups, how many actual purchases are associated with a loyalty program?
  • How much more do customers spend after they join a loyalty program?

Price is far and away the most important factor for customers when they buy gas—fuel customers surveys have found that time and time again. But then we dug deeper and asked about all the reasons why customers choose a station… and then compared what they said to 1.7 billion fuel transactions nationwide.

For example of the surveyed customers, 26% list a fuel brand’s loyalty program as one consideration in choosing where to fill up. But in reality, only 9% of all purchases nationwide are associated with loyalty programs. Then various retailers weighed in with very interesting perspectives on how they are changing the way they use their sign price and loyalty programs to find their future customers.

Outmatch your competition: Fuel industry report

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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