Harris Poll Names Top C-Store Brand of the Year

New name takes lead position in EquiTrend consumer study

Sheetz convenience stores logo

NEW YORK -- A new study shows Sheetz is consumers' most-trusted convenience-store brand and Shell the leading gasoline brand in the United States.

The results are part of Harris Poll's annual EquiTrend study of brands across many categories. The top five c-store brands, according to the survey are:

  1. Sheetz
  2. QuikTrip
  3. Wawa
  4. 7-Eleven
  5. ARCO ampm

The top five gasoline brands are:

  1. Shell
  2. Costco
  3. Murphy
  4. Valero
  5. BJ's

Other significant category winners:

Category Top brand
Chocolate candy Hershey's Kisses
Non-chocolate candy Reese's Pieces
Mass merchandiser Target
Pharmacy CVS
Value store Dollar Tree
Warehouse club Costco
Grocery store (South) Publix
Grocery store (Midwest) Hy-Vee
Grocery store (Northeast) Wegmens
Grocery store (West) Costco
Burger restaurant In-N-Out
Chicken restaurant Chick-fil-A
Coffee & QSR Krispy Kreme
Sandwich shop Subway
Fast-casual Mexican restaurant Chipotle

The c-store and gasoline winners are both changes from last year, when Wawa and Costco gasoline won, respectively. In 2013, the winners were QuikTrip and Costco gasoline.

The EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three key factors—familiarity, quality and consideration—that result in a brand-equity rating for each brand. Brands that rank highest in equity receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend "Brand of the Year" award for their category. For this, the 27th-annual study, more than 38,000 Americans assessed over 1,400 brands across 148 categories.

"Brands that build and keep their promise over time—and develop strong differentiation—stay relevant for the long term," noted Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at Harris Poll. "Strong equity has value and can sustain companies through hard times. Target remains one of America's most esteemed brands despite the data breach in 2014, and consumers are willing to give it a chance to rebound."

As technology continues transforming financial services, for the first time, EquiTrend measured mobile payments.  Despite category fragmentation and limited familiarity across brands, the category is poised to transform very quickly.  PayPal, the established "click and pay" brand, leads direct competitors by a wide margin.

What does the future hold? EquiTrend shows that any wallet associated with Amazon.com, Google, Apple and major credit-card providers gains a solid level of familiarity courtesy of the parent brand, as well as strong quality perceptions and a predisposition to try.

"Market fragmentation, rolling rebranding and merchants waiting for the shakeout before investing in systems has gotten in the way of adoption," said Sinopoli.  "When one of these brands gets the execution right and merchant acceptance hits critical mass, consumers appear ready to jump on board."

Click here to see the full list of EquiTrend 2015 Brands of the Year.

Part of CSP's 2015 Convenience Top 101 retailers