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GasBuddy Releases Second Quarterly Foot Traffic Report

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Summer driving season a good time for gas stations, 45 percent uplift in foot traffic during Memorial Day weekend;
Speedway, Costco, Thorntons captured most foot traffic in size categories

Today we released our quarterly study examining foot traffic in the $600 billion convenience store and fuel retailing industry across the U.S. in Q2 2018.

According to the 2018 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, the number of convenience stores increased by 0.3 percent in 2017, while other brick-and-mortar retailers such as grocery and drug stores experienced a decrease in locations in the same time period. There is a consumer shift in becoming more convenience-driven, which is evidenced by the activity during the second quarter across retailer locations.

Based on our footfall data, brands who received the most foot traffic per station in their respective categories retained their top spots from Q1 to Q2, including Ohio-based Speedway (1000+ locations), Washington-based Costco (250 – 999 locations), Kentucky-based Thorntons (50 – 249 locations) and Indiana-based Ricker’s (30 – 49 locations).

“The second quarter is always exciting since consumers hit the road for summer activities,” says Frank Beard, convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy. “There was a big shift for the busiest times at the pump, moving from mid-week in Q1 to the weekend in Q2. Since there are still a few months of summer left, retailers should prepare for these ‘weekend warriors’ by emphasizing their fresh, grab-and-go offerings.”

Key study highlights include:

Costco Claims Top Spot: Washington-based Costco captured the most foot traffic per location of any brand in any category—more than five times the industry average. Costco and additional big box and grocery brands captured the highest average footfall traffic in 13 U.S. states in Q2, only one fewer state than last quarter. Brands include Dillon Stores, Fred Meyer, King Sooper’s, Kroger, Safeway, Sam’s Club and Smith’s.

Cumberland Farms and Wawa Tie for #1 in the Most States: Wawa ties with Q1’s top brand, Cumberland Farms, in capturing the highest average footfall traffic in five states. Costco and Pilot capture the highest average foot traffic in four states, while Kroger and Speedway tie for the highest average foot traffic in three states.

T.G.I.F.: Friday at 5pm was the busiest time for fuel and convenience brands in Q2, followed by Friday from 12-4pm. Busiest days overall include Friday (1), Saturday (2), Thursday (3) and Wednesday (4).

Big Wins For Memorial Day Weekend: Memorial Day travel resulted in increased foot traffic across a variety of retail sectors and related industries. Fuel and convenience retailers that saw significant uplift in foot traffic between May 25 and May 28 include Marathon (67%), BP (60%), and Circle K (60%).*

Quality Experiences Drive More Visits: Today’s consumers seek quality retail experiences. Stations with above-average ratings in the GasBuddy app attracted more visits than the industry average, and those with below-average ratings experienced comparatively less foot traffic. The largest gap was seen with outdoor lighting ratings. Stations with above-average outdoor lighting captured approximately 35 percent more traffic than their below-average counterparts.

See the full report here.

Methodology
From April 1 to June 30, 2018, GasBuddy analyzed location visit data at more than 100 fuel and convenience store brands across the United States to understand foot traffic trends, provide geo-behavioral and consumer insights, and identify the impact of key factors such as ratings and reviews on POI visits. To be considered a “visit,” a user must be within 30 meters of a fuel pump for between 2 and 30 minutes.

GasBuddy is a company that connects drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. As the leading source for crowdsourced, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, millions of drivers use the GasBuddy app and website every day to find gas station convenience stores based on fuel prices, location and ratings/reviews. GasBuddy’s first-of-its-kind fuel savings program, Pay with GasBuddy, has saved Americans more than $4.5 million at the pumps since its launch in 2017.