If you live in the US or Canada, you probably know how easy it is to fill up at Costco after you’ve done your shopping. And you probably also realize that they usually have the best prices in the area. But have you also noted how clean the gas station is? All of these played a role in a recent consumer survey that found Costco and Kroger were the top places to fill up your car’s gas tank.
The survey was conducted by Market Force, a consumer intelligence solutions company, in April 2012. They surveyed 4,500 consumers across the United States and Canada to see what influences them in their gas purchases. Not surprisingly, the two biggest influencing factors on where consumers will chose to get gas are convenience (48%) and price (46%). However, Market Force also wanted to get a deeper understanding of consumer preferences in this area, so it asked consumers to name their favorite petro-convenience retailer–the one they like the most out of all they patronize. To compare the different retailers fairly, Market Force indexed the results by location count in order to even the playing field. When the results were indexed, Costco emerged as the clear favourite with an index score of 371. It was followed by Kroger (322), Sam’s Club (284), Hess (71), Shell (42), Walmart (29), Sunoco (18), Valero (15), 7-Eleven (14), ExxonMobil (13), BP (12) and Chevron (10). That’s a big difference in the top and bottom scores, huh?
So, aside from price and convenience what drives consumer choices? I was surprised that cleanliness matters so much to consumers, with 4 in 10 ranking that as an important differentiator. After that, ease of entry onto the property, brand reputation, fuel quality and customer service are also top factors. Costco, scored highest for overall cleanliness and price competitiveness, while Kroger scored highest for convenient locations and promotions. Costco also received the highest number of votes for the statement, “I would drive past a competitor’s location to fuel at this location.” Market Force believe this indicates that consumers view the Costco as a gas price leader. I know they always had the best prices in the areas in Austin where they were located, even the gas stations right across the street didn’t/couldn’t offer the same prices most of the time.
For more information or to read additional details from the Market Force research: