Conventional wisdom dictates that when consumers experience financial uncertainty, retail, entertainment and foodservice spending are the first to be cut from the budget. But as consumer confidence grows, the economy begins to see an uptick in these industries.
A recent Technomic Generational Consumer Trend Report indicates that consumer behavior, particularly foodservices spending, varies between age groups.
Economic indicators are beginning to show modest improvement, but members of the Millennial generation – generally defined as those born in 1981 and later — are experiencing a boost in consumer confidence.
According to Technomic, 50% are optimistic about their personal finances, and expect the bottom line to improve in the next 12 months. Conversely, 21% all consumers expect a downward trend in their finances.
Taking a closer look at generational spending, the survey showed:
- Of all age groups, Millennials earn the least amount of incomes, but they spend the most at food service establishments., with 42% eating at an upscale casual-dining restaurant at least once a month. Compare that to Generation X at 33%, and Baby Boomers at 24%.
- 32% of Millenials and 26% of Gen Xers say they are too “overwhelmed by daily responsibilities to cook at home as often as they would like.” Only 13% of Baby Boomers report the same sentiment.
- 43% of Millennials say they are influenced by coupons and discounts to choose a restaurant.
- Healthy menu options influence Millennials in their restaurant choice more than any other age group, with 31% of Millenials saying they that healthy options drive their decision, compared to 21% of Gen Xers and 18% of Boomers sharing the same influence.
“As Millennials begin to shift into new life stages, it is vital for restaurant chains to stay on top of their changing needs and preferences, particularly in the areas of health and wellness, quality and value,” Sara Monnette, Technomic director of consumer research, said in a press release. “Millennials are a critical consumer group to the foodservice industry and finding ways to market to them can be difficult because they have high and varied expectations. Earning their dollars goes deeper than the quality of food.”