Data analytics group Lightstone has published a new report highlighting the scale of the network of petrol stations in South Africa.
The report, which is based on telemetry data collected from half a million motorists, found that the average motorist stops at a service station approximately nine times per month – typically covering 220 km between stops.
“This tells us that consumers are stopping more often at stations than is required simply to refuel,” said Linda Reid, head of commercial property at Lightstone.
“Vehicles that stop the least number of times are the luxury passenger types, with an average of seven times a month and those that tend to stop the most times a month are taxis with up to 16 stops per month,” she said.
Reid said that consumer loyalty to service station brands has also played a big part in the last several years, partly due to the benefits they acquire from third parties.
“In polls conducted at all the Nedbank Franchise Roadshow events, the audiences consistently indicated that around a quarter of people chose which service station to stop at on the basis of the loyalty scheme partnerships present at that brand,”she said.
“This is a substantial driver of choice that is being leveraged by the major fuel station brands.”
Not visiting just for petrol
Reid said that brand loyalty also applies to branded grocery retailers, which play a crucial role in the successful consumer conversion from one service station brand to another.
‘Conversion’ is the proportion of consumers accessible to the service station (that is, driving on the road segments next to the service station) that choose to turn in to that service station.
Looking at the conversion rates of service stations with or without branded grocery retailers, Lightstone evaluated two of the biggest players, namely BP and Engen.
The results show that BPs that host a Pick ‘n Pay convenience store have a conversion rate of 8.1% compared to 4.9% without.
Engen service stations with a Woolworths offering have a 9% conversion rate in comparison to 5.3% for Engen service stations that do not have this retailer on their premises.