Putting forecourts into focus
5 July 2016
As forecourts increasingly expand their food and drink offering, gone are the days that people visit simply for fuel. As a result there has been steady growth in this channel with the forecourt format now accounting for 1 in 5 convenience stores in the UK food & grocery sector. This is a channel laden with opportunity and it’s about time we put forecourts into focus.
Whilst historically people associate forecourts with fuel, our latest CTP results reveal that 34% of shoppers are purchasing shop items only, that’s more than those purchasing fuel! Food & drink to go are key missions driving this shift away from petrol only purchases in forecourts.
Specifically, food-to-go has seen a year on year growth with more than 20% of forecourt shoppers on this mission. In turn forecourts are clearly responding to this consumer trend as almost all offer hot drinks-to-go. However there is more that could be done in terms of hot food-to-go with a significantly lesser proportion including this offering.
Shoppers we spoke to want more when it comes to food-to-go in forecourts and there is plenty more that can be done! They want recognisable and credible brands of hot drinks and seating areas where they can take a quick pit stop and enjoy their food and drink to take a break from driving. Free wifi is also a great way to encourage shoppers to stay a while and spend more in-store.
So we’ve given a brief explanation of what forecourts are getting right and where there is room for growth but what is the monetary value of these opportunities within forecourts? If the sector were to facilitate a 1% increase of visitors purchasing shop items in symbol forecourts the value would be around £157m to the channel – a slice of the pie worth investing in!