Consumer Trends

Americans say they’re ordering less delivery

Consumers say inflation is causing them to cut back, according to a survey by Personal Capital. But other measures show demand has been steady.
DoorDash driver
DoorDash orders rose 27% in the third quarter. / Photograph: Shutterstock

Americans beset by inflation say they’re cutting back on delivery to save money.

That’s according to a survey of more than 1,000 consumers by personal finance site Personal Capital, which found that 94% of respondents either ordered less delivery or dined out less over the past year.

The findings are at odds with reports from restaurants and delivery companies that show demand has held steady even as prices rise. In the third quarter, DoorDash orders increased 27% year over year and sales rose 30%. The general belief is that many people are willing to pay more for the convenience.

And yet 28% of people surveyed by Personal Capital said they’ve been using DoorDash less. Respondents went from spending an average of more than $70 per month on the app to just over $45.

Grubhub users said they were spending about $20 less per month, while Uber Eats customers cut back by $13.

Nearly half (47%) of those consumers cited the high cost of delivery for the change. The service can be much more expensive than ordering in-restaurant because it includes delivery and service fees as well as tips, and the menu prices themselves are often inflated. One study found that McDonald’s delivery costs nearly 100% more on average than ordering on-site.

Gen Z was most impacted by those upcharges: 57% said the cost of delivery was what caused them to pump the brakes.

Another 47% of all respondents said they had less disposable income to spend on delivery, while 51% said they were saving up for something in the future. 

The wallet-tightening came amid a year of historic inflation. Consumer prices finished the year 6.5% higher than 2021 after peaking at 9% over the summer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That has affected all kinds of consumer habits, not just restaurant delivery. About a quarter (24%) of people surveyed by Personal Capital said they were dining out less in general and also spending less in restaurants: The monthly average fell from $95 to about $57.

That could reflect both fewer visits and a shift to lower-priced options such as fast food. Industry traffic has largely slowed over the past year, while sales have risen gradually but did lose some momentum at the end of 2022. 

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content

Emerging Brands

5 pre-emerging restaurant brands ready for takeoff

These small concepts are still proving out their ideas, but each shows promise as a potential candidate for the next generation of emerging chains.


This little-known iPhone feature could change restaurant ordering

Tech Check: Almost every customer has a POS in their pocket. Can mini mobile apps get them to actually use it?


Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.


More from our partners