American drivers are much more likely than in years past to be hitting the roads as summer drive season begins, according to the latest NACS "Consumer Fuels" survey.
In addition to the lowest U.S. gas prices for summertime since 2005, nearly three in 10 (29%) consumers said they will drive more in the coming month. This was an 11-point jump from a year ago (18% in June 2016) and a record high for the month of June.
NACS said relatively low gas prices are fueling both consumer optimism and the anticipated increase in driving. Fully four in five (80%) Americans said gas prices affect their feelings about the economy.
“Continued strong optimism over the economy and an expected increase in summer driving is great news for convenience stores and other retailers who cater to summer travelers,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.
To capitalize on the increased convenience store traffic, Tyson Convenience, a channel within Tyson Foodservice Teams and a division of Tyson Foods Inc., released June 22 results from a national consumer survey conducted with 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and up to help retailers understand which prepared foods customers prefer for making their trip more enjoyable, regardless of the distance.
“Busy summers and convenience stores go hand in hand for meals and snacks on the go,” said Rob Ramsey, senior manager of convenience channel marketing for Tyson Foods. “Consumers use convenience stores as their summertime home to keep them refueled and not slow them down.”
Survey findings included:
- The number-one reason (51%) American adults purchase food at a convenience store is to satisfy a craving.
- Americans love breakfast, and 48% would like to see a breakfast station serving waffles, biscuits, breakfast meats and baked goods at a convenience store.
- Breakfast sandwiches are so popular that more than half of Americans (51%) would purchase one at their local convenience store if they wanted to have breakfast for dinner. On the other hand, pizza rose to the top of later-in-the-day prepared foods to cross over to breakfast, with (45%) of Americans interested in eating pizza for breakfast.
- Americans prefer to eat their snacks with two fingers (47%) while trying to avoid using any utensils.
“Hearing directly from consumers on what they want and expect from a convenience store can be invaluable for retailers, especially during the busy summer season,” Ramsey said. “These survey insights, like having breakfast offerings served all day in unique, creative ways, give retailers feedback from consumers on how to merchandize prepared food offerings to attract consumers in the summer.”