BOSTON — When it comes to filling up, most consumers wander between multiple fuel and c-store brands, recent research by GasBuddy finds.
To understand fuel brand loyalty and consumer buying behavior, GasBuddy examined six months of point-of-purchase (POP) data from its Pay with GasBuddy loyalty program, which provides drivers with a discount on fuel purchases and has more than 500,000 members and $220 million in total purchase volume.
The Boston-based company identified a few key takeaways about fuel buying that suggest brand is losing its luster in the purchasing decision. They include …
Nearly one-half of drivers fill up four or more times per month. Of these, 81% do so at multiple fuel and c-store brands in any given month. Only 19% were loyal to one specific fuel or c-store brand.
According to GasBuddy’s annual Pump Habits Survey, the percentage of consumers who cite brand loyalty as a reason for picking a gas station has fallen by 5% in the past three years.
Brand is also not a big motivator for drivers who fill up less frequently. For those who fill up three times per month, 77% visited multiple fuel brands. Slightly less than one-quarter fueled up exclusively at one brand.
“Unlike grocery and apparel retailers, the fuel and convenience industry is servicing a truly brand-agnostic consumer,” said Sarah McCrary, CEO of GasBuddy. “With on-the-go drivers sensitive to the price of fuel, the station location and the quality of the amenities, the key to seeing returning customers is delighting them with offers that are timely and relevant to their particular trip.”
By region, the Midwest has the most brand-agnostic fuel customers, according to the GasBuddy analysis. In that region, 82% of customers shop multiple brands in any one month.
The most brand-loyal customers are in the Northeast and West, where nearly one-quarter are exclusive to one brand. GasBuddy analysts suggest that those fuel brands on the highly developed East and West coasts have less competition for customers’ loyalty than in the South and Midwest, which have more rural markets.