Oil companies need to up their game in the €72 billion European fuel cards market, as independent issuers use innovation to build market share, according to the latest research from Datamonitor.
Datamonitor’s report estimates oil companies have an 80% share of all fuel card volumes across Europe. While companies like Shell (13%) and TOTAL (12%) do account for a substantial slice of the market, independent fleet issuers such as Arval (6%), Travelcard (1%), and CCS (1%) as well as issuers specializing in pan-European HGV fuel cards such as DKV (6%) and UTA (4%) are becoming increasingly prominent within the European fuel card landscape.
Alex Jeater, service station retail analyst at Datmonitor, comments: “While it is true that independent issuers have got a long way to go to catch up the fuel volume dominance of the oil majors, it is the non-oil affiliated players that are either investing in new and innovative card features, or simply promoting them better.”
Common innovative card features more regularly offered by independent issuers include the ability to pay for town centre parking and mobile phone apps showing sites where the card is accepted and the pump price. Several independent issuers also allow their card to be used not just for purchases at the service station but in the wider retail environment - a feature that could be popular for companies looking to consolidate all business expenses on to one invoice.
“With many cross-network acceptance arrangements already fully exploited, we predict that oil companies will at the very least need to match the lead taken by independent issuers in order to protect their share and offer the services and features increasingly demanded by end users and fleet managers,” concludes Jeater.