Gas stations are perhaps the most common ground for American consumers. The U.S. was home to 222 million licensed drivers as of 2016, according to the Census Bureau. They all need to buy gas, and any brand on the market will take them where they need to go.
However, gasoline consumers’ income can have a big impact on where they buy. There is a gap between ARCO, known for low prices and for not accepting credit cards, and Costco, which also features low prices, but requires a $60 membership fee.
- During the 90-day stretch from early June through Labor Day, consumers who earned less than $35,000 per year accounted for 49% of ARCO stations’ traffic.
- The same income bracket made up just 27% of Costco’s gasoline business.
- At the other end of the income spectrum, Costco drew 37% of its gasoline business from consumers earning $75,000 or more.
- Only 18% of ARCO’s visits during the summer driving season came from people whose household incomes topped $75,000.
It’s not just a matter of price differential. According to a report from Business Insider, Costco was the least expensive gasoline option, per gallon, in 17 states. And in California, which has the greatest number of ARCO stations, anecdotal evidence suggests that Costco competes well on price, although there are far more ARCO stations – six times as many in the Los Angeles DMA, for example.
- How heavily does that $60 membership fee figure into Costco’s consumer profiles?
- Is the membership fee the biggest hurdle keeping lower-income drivers from making Costco their brand?
- Or, for drivers in DMAs where ARCO and Costco compete, is the convenience of having more stations available a stronger factor in lower-income drivers' preference for ARCO?
The data on gas station visits, and on who those visitors are based on income, age and many more demographic characteristics, comes instantly into view for users of MFour’s Path-2-Purchase® Platform. You’ll observe and track the daily journeys of validated, first-party consumer panel members who have opted in to participate in location-based research.
Knowing precisely who they are, and exactly where they go, gives you unprecedented opportunities to identify in an instant the population segments you need to study and understand.
But Path-2-Purchase® isn’t just for collecting data from known audiences. It takes you a step further by arming you with instant data visualizations that help you identify new, research-relevant audiences to approach, and new questions to ask.
Studies based on Path-2-Purchase® segmentation and targeting will get you fast responses from real consumers whose characteristics you’ll know before you even field your survey. You’ll come away with a real understanding based on observing and talking to real people who'll tell you the "why" behind the observational data you already have.
With the launch of Path-2-Purchase® you finally have a choice. You can continue to depend on third-party data and settle for inferences and assumptions rather than direct knowledge as to who consumers actually are and what really motivates them. Or step up to validated, first-party opinions that reveal the motivations and emotions of actual, carefully-profiled mobile consumers.
There’s lots more to explore on your way to premium data and high-octane consumer insights that dispense with inferences and put you in touch with direct reality. To check out the Path-2-Purchase® dashboard, just click here. And for a productive discussion about how the platform can power your projects’ specific needs, get in touch by clicking here.