With high gas prices continuing to impact consumer spend, delivery startups gaining market share, and, well, the fact that it’s the eleventh of July, it’s only appropriate to take a deep dive into the world’s largest convenience chain 7-Eleven. In today’s Insight Flash, we take advantage of our ability to separate the company’s fuel versus ex-fuel sales to assess performance versus the overall Convenience subindustry, examine how often its customers cross-shop competitors, and look at how demographics differ between the two sides of the business.
Unsurprisingly given how important oil prices are to fuel spend, 7-Eleven’s Fuel business spend growth has tracked the growth of the overall Convenience/Gas subindustry very closely. With gas prices skyrocketing, fuel purchases at the pump have climbed to 46% of total spend at 7-Eleven in June. Although this matches pre-pandemic levels, with many commuters still engaging in Hybrid work the high share is more likely due to higher prices per gallon than gallons of gas purchased. As 7-Eleven has expanded into urban areas, Ex-Fuel spend growth has also been strong, up 37.7% in June versus three years ago.
7-Eleven’s gas customers who pay at the pump do also go inside the store for snacks and other items – 30% of fuel shoppers in May also cross-shopped inside the store. Beyond that, however, they are not particularly loyal. In May, 25% of 7-Eleven fuel customers also made a purchase at Shell Oil, and 22% also purchased at Exxon Mobil. For those buying convenience items, only 11% also bought gas from 7-Eleven. While some stores are in urban areas without fuel pumps, this wouldn’t explain why 27% of ex-fuel customers also made a purchase at Shell Oil and 21% also shopped Exxon Mobil. Instead, it could be inferred that the food and beverage sold at the convenience store itself are more of a standalone draw than commoditized fuel.
There are demographic differences between 7-Eleven Fuel and Ex Fuel shoppers as well. Those spending money in the convenience store tend to be younger, with those aged 18-34 accounting for 39% of spend versus 34% for fuel purchases. Interestingly, 7-Eleven Fuel and Ex Fuel spend show the same distribution across income groups, with higher income shoppers unsurprisingly able to spend more.