Forecourt Retailing Market Assessment 2005
- ID: 461868
- February 2005
- Region: United Kingdom
- Key Note Publications Ltd
Fuel pump prices were again a sensitive issue during 2004, with the rising cost of fuel making headlines. This happened — despite the fact that fuel duty has remained frozen since 2000 — mainly as a result of global factors that have led to increases in the price of crude oil.
The retail market for motor fuel has been static or falling since 2000, due mainly to increased fuel efficiency, which means that consumers need to fill up their cars less often.
Diesel volumes rose slightly between 2002 and 2003, but a strong decrease in the overall volume of unleaded petrol has meant that, by the end of 2003, retail petrol volumes were at their lowest for 5 years. However, some of this low volume can be accounted for by a small increase in the `super unleaded' category.
The continuing problem of low fuel margins, combined with falling fuel sales, means that forecourt retailers have increasingly turned to non-fuel sales within their forecourt outlets. The growing sophistication of forecourt retail outlets has been led by fuel retailers' desire to make their forecourts more profitable, but they have succeeded because of changes in lifestyle: consumers have less time and are more likely to feel the need to `multi-task', for example, by picking up food and other daily essentials at the same time as they stop for fuel, rather than making a separate trip to local shops.
This original consumer research shows that the typical forecourt consumer is most likely to be male, working full time, in the 25 to 44 age group and in the ABC1 social grades. 9% of consumers often go to forecourt shops even if they do not need to visit them to buy petrol; however, the number who say that they never do so is nearly double this, at 17%.
Looking to the future, the outlook for retail sales of fuel is not particularly bright, although non-fuel sales growth should remain buoyant, stimulated by continuing interest from supermarkets and major oil companies, both of which have been working on improving their offering.
Just before this report was published, two of the major players in the market announced very strong financial results for 2004; the Royal Dutch/Shell Group recorded a record profit of $17.5bn (£9.3bn) while BP's full year profit results were $16.2bn (£8.7bn). SHOW LESS READ MORE >