Fewer than one-in-ten forecourt shoppers cite fuel as the main reason for their visit, as the coronavirus pandemic reinforces the importance of the convenience store offering within a forecourt, according to the new Lumina Intelligence UK Forecourt Market Report 2021.

The report highlights the key missions that are driving shoppers to forecourts:

  • Top-up (planned) – 26%;
  • Food to go – 16%;
  • Newsagent – 11%;
  • Top-up (distress) – 9%.

With over a quarter of forecourt shoppers on a top-up (planned) mission, the report identifies the most popular categories purchased on this mission as bakery (45%), chilled foods excluding milk (44%), fresh fruit and veg (35%) and tinned or packaged grocery (32%).

The report indicates that, versus the total convenience average, on average forecourt shoppers visit three times per week (+0.6), purchase 3.7 items per visit (+0.2) and spend £15.18 (+£3.77).

Due to restrictions on travel caused by the pandemic, the focus on forecourts as retail destinations has gained traction. Shoppers have been advised to shop local for the majority of the year, benefiting forecourts.

The report also found forecourt shoppers are 51% more likely to distinguish between stores through an in-store bakery offer and 44% more likely through choice of food to go, compared to convenience average. Providing shoppers with these two choices of offers will help forecourts differentiate themselves from other sites.

Commenting on the finding, Alice Dolling, insight lead at Lumina Intelligence, said: “Strict restrictions on movement and travel over the last year have severely impacted the forecourt sector and forced operators and retailers to adapt in order to generate sales and footfall. With fuel sales down, a forecourt’s convenience store offering has never been more important.”

“Ranging should be targeting top up missions through the expansion of ambient food ranges, whilst chilled ready meals are key to serving meal occasion missions as forecourt shoppers are more likely to be looking for quick and easy solutions.”

“For suppliers, forecourt shoppers are more likely to purchase PMPs, buy on impulse and promotion, making forecourts ideal test beds for supplier led marketing activations.”