Consumer Trends

Consumer trends, insights and preferences

Consumer Trends

Rich folks taking a bigger bite out of fast food

Even as the economy continues its slow recovery, wealthy Americans are gravitating toward fast-food restaurants. According to a new American Express study, the “ultra-affluent”—those defined as consumers who charge $7000 or more a month on their credit cards—are slowly increasing their spending on luxury items while trying to remain frugal in other areas, such as eating out.

Consumer Trends

Convenience stores are grabbing more foodservice customers

The economy may still be sluggish, but things picked up for the convenience store (C-store) channel. The NPD Group states that traffic, sales and average visits increased in the second quarter of 2010. While store visits are increasing, pay-at-the-pump visits are steady and dual visits—pay-at-the-pump plus store—are declining.

If you’re waiting for consumers to return to their free-spending ways, make sure you’ve found a comfortable seat—it’s going to be a while.

Younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables, while adults and teens seem to be slacking off, according to research commissioned by the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and conducted by NPD Foodworld.

Members of Gen-Y or the millennial Generation—18-to 29-year-olds—were hit harder with pay cuts and unemployment during the recession, but their spending habits have not significantly changed. In addition, the diversity of this multicultural generation is increasing. According to Packaged Facts’ recent Gen-Y research, it is expected that these freer-spending millennials will be critical to American economic recovery.

After a 4% decline in 2009 and another 3% decline in 2010, lunch daypart sales are set to pick up in 2011. Unemployment and the economic slump spurred budget-conscious consumers to cut back on lunch spending in restaurants, but creative marketing and unique offers spurred consumers to come back.

Findings from Empathica’s latest Consumer Insights Panel show that Americans feel customer service is getting worse. Based on feedback from a survey of 11,000 consumers, the findings reveal that things have deteriorated compared to the first quarter of 2010.

Traditional is meeting contemporary, as beverages are revamped for a changing palate, pocketbook and generation of consumers. Benchmark Hospitality International’s “Top 10 Beverage Trends for 2010” shows how the beverage industry is embracing change and satisfying consumers—whether it’s rediscovering retro cocktails or welcoming new wine varietals.

Every business, regardless of size, should acknowledge its responsibility to the community as a whole. By doing so, you also attract the more socially conscious customer. According to American Express Market Brief, restaurant patrons are most concerned about working conditions and wages for employees and environmental issues.

Although the industry is slowly showing improvements after being hard hit by the recession, there remains cause for concern. According to NPD, a leading market research company, restaurants are expected to grow by only 1 percent a year while the country’s population will grow by 1.1 percent per year over the next decade.