The most popular petrol stations in South Africa

Data and research group Lightstone, in partnership with Tracker, has released its latest Explore findings, showing which service station brands in South Africa are seeing the most success.

Sasol service stations attract the most feet to their forecourts, despite not having the highest number of service stations in South Africa, with Shell service stations the second most attractive brand.

Lightstone Explore formed a 50/50 joint venture  with Tracker, in which Lightstone analysed the 2.5 million vehicle trips Tracker customers undertake every day. This amounts to 450,000 vehicles and 37 million km a day throughout South Africa – which Lightstone said is statistically significant enough to paint an accurate picture of the habits of the average South Africa driver.

Lightstone receives the start and completion points of every trip (three days after the trip); the vehicle’s identification number (which discloses the make, owner and model); the value of the vehicle, as well as where it sleeps at night (which can be used to determine average income).

The trip data provided to Lightstone by Tracker also reveals where vehicle users fill up their vehicles, which service stations they rather drive past, and how long they spend at a service station on average.

The data is anonymised to protect Tracker customers.

Top service stations

Lightstone Explore has built up a database of 3,155 accurately plotted service stations across the country.

In the past three months, these service stations have had 9.8 million vehicles fitted with Tracker devices pull up at the pump, which is an average of 3,117 visits per service station.

Sasol has the highest visit ratio of 4,221 visits to each of its 294 service stations over the past three months, reflecting its superior site location, Lightstone said.

Shell is second, with 3,505 visits at 528 sites.

The British–Dutch multinational oil and gas company also had the most popular service station, with 69,949 visits to the group’s Ultra City sites on the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“Considering the number of customers stopping at service stations, compared with those opting to drive by a service station – called the conversion ratio – it appears Sasol is the most successful in ensuring drivers pull in at their forecourts,” Lightstone said.

Sasol’s conversion ratio is the most successful, at 6.2%. This is how the stations stack up:

  • Sasol at 6.2%;
  • Shell at 5.8%;
  • Engen at 5.3%;
  • BP at 4.9%;
  • and Caltex at 4.3%.

Engen has the largest service station network in South Africa, at 861 sites, but a conversion rate of only 5.3%

Food retailers and brands had a big impact on conversions, Lightsone said, noting that BP service stations aligned with Pick n Pay saw a conversion ration of 8.95 versus the 4.9% average – while Engen’s with Woolworths had a conversion ratio of 8% versus the 5.3% average.

Fast food had an even bigger impact,  with Steers sites’ conversion ratio at 10.4%, while sites with Wimpy restaurants attained 14.9% conversion.

However, this success can also be attributed to most of Engen Wimpys being located on freeway sites, Lightstone said.

Read: Everything you need to know about opening a petrol station franchise in South Africa – including costs

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The most popular petrol stations in South Africa