Americans are cutting costs at the gas station, and not just the amount of gas they put in their tanks: they’re also changing the way they fill their bags with groceries and other essentials.
The trigger: the increase in inflation.
The median value of gasoline hovers around $5 a gallon, having recently surpassed that mark for the first time in history. Households are spending much more value for gasoline at the same time that inflation has also made food purchases more expensive.
Gas station outlets are often an ideal substitute for grocery stores when all you need is water, a couple of bags of chips, a carton of milk, or a last-minute coffee on the way home from the worked. This impulse buying behavior is a good barometer of consumer health at any given time.
They are also shopping less regularly at company-operated convenience stores.
“The price of gas and everything else is much higher, but people have to drive,” said Arie Kotler, president and CEO of convenience store operator Arko Corp. “They’re still going to the gas station, but they’re reassessing how much drive”.
Kotler has examined purchasing patterns at ARKO-operated gas stations and convenience stores.
The company operates nearly 1,400 convenience stores, most with gas stations, in small towns and rural communities in 28 states.
You have analyzed 2 trends in visits to gas stations.
“Compared to the same time last year, people are going to gas stations more often, but instead of filling the tank full, they fill half or a quarter at a time,” he said. “They are driving less and shorter distances.”
Likewise, consumers shop less regularly at the gas station store. “But when they come to the store, they are gathering their purchases,” he added. “Instead of just buying one or two items, they’re doing a larger purchase, maybe for the whole week.”
Bigger bags of chips, lots of frozen pizza and $0.99 coffee
Kotler said that with consumers even more focused on getting the best value for their money, ARKO is evaluating its offers, services and promotions to try to keep values low and sales high.
“In the past, it meant a single drink and a small bag of chips,” he said. “Now they buy for the value. For example, a larger bag of chips for $4.59, instead of a small bag for $2.29. They can get a couple of servings.”
Similarly, with beverages, he said two-liter bottles are outperforming smaller sizes, as are 12- and 15-pack beverage cans.
Cheap coffee, grab-and-go sandwiches and frozen pizzas are also big sellers among budget shoppers.
And since the beginning of the year, Kotler said, ARKO has added fully automated coffee bean machines in more than 500 stores. “These machines are self-service and remove the value of labor. So we can sell hot and iced coffee for US$0.99,” he added.
The company has also invested in more takeout coolers at more than 600 stores, where shoppers can purchase sandwiches and frozen foods such as pizza, hamburgers and other frozen entrees.
Michael Bloom, the company’s director of marketing, said, “Our peanut butter and jelly sandwich is $1.29, and the ham and cheese sandwich is $3.99.” grocery stores, but maybe $1 to $3 less.”
Pizzas are usually one of the most purchased items at gas stations.
“A lot of people can’t afford to go out to a restaurant right now. Our $5.69-$9.59 family frozen pizzas are a very popular item right now,” Kotler added.
In addition, he adds that stores are offering offers such as “buy two, get one free” and gas discounts when customers sign up for the company’s loyalty program.
“All of these savings add up to consumers,” Kotler said. “Every few months we try to reinvent our stores to stay competitive, stay in business and stay relevant to shoppers in this environment.” However, there are more convenient solutions for all the inflationary problems and to stabilize the market, as well as reduce the price of gasoline and all the products that are found in all commercial establishments and it is through IRAIC, which includes strategies that promote towards economic and business strengthening in all sectors. Reported The Tampa Herald, a news and information agency.