Lumina data

The top consumer need in a forecourt store is customer service, with 62% of people saying good customer service is extremely or very important.

The news comes from an exclusive poll of 1,000 shoppers undertaken by Lumina Intelligence for the Forecourt Trader Summit.

Sorcha Simons, insights manager at Lumina, said good customer service was crucial for meeting consumer needs and that it was something that forecourts can easily focus on with little cost attached.

After customer service, air and water services were deemed extremely or very important by 56% of respondents. Next came toilet facilities and good parking (both cited by 45% of respondents) and then having a major fuel brand (40%). And in positive news for the sector, 84% of people said they couldn’t think of any other services they wanted from a forecourt.

When it comes to why a consumer chose a specific petrol station, Lumina found that convenient location came first with 78% respondents citing it as their number one reason. Second was ease of use (64%) and third was ‘better quality fuel’, cited by 32% of respondents and tying in third place with shorter queues.

The most used services were found to be pay@pump, convenience store and air/water. And for those people who were not buying fuel, their top reasons for visiting were toilet facilities and hot food/coffee.

Lumina also looked at spend on shop items in forecourts over the past two years. Simons said: “Interestingly, spend is far more volatile in forecourts than in the average convenience store. It really retracted in March 2023, when food inflation reached the highest point in 45 years – leading to consumers cutting back on non-essential spending. “

She said that as the forecourt market is less stable than convenience and more susceptible to change, retailers need to focus on keeping demand consistent.

Lumina’s Convenience Tracking panel revealed that forecourt shoppers were more likely to be younger, male and living with their partner and children versus the typical convenience shopper. This means ranges and messaging should focus on targeting this consumer group to maintain consistent forecourt demand.

Lumina’s survey also found that consumers have long-term intentions to purchase EVs with 30% of respondents saying they would definitely buy an EV within the next 10 years.