••• restaurant research

Eat and repeat

Restaurant communications keep customers coming back for more

Rows of strawberries on a red background.

During a time when consumers are more price-conscious and discerning than ever in their dining selections, marketing campaigns have a positive impact on driving repeat orders. Consumers want to hear from restaurants, and when they do, restaurants win. Fifty-five percent of consumers who receive marketing messages (e-mails, mailers and text messages) from restaurants will dine at or order from that restaurant within the next month, according to restaurant software and solutions provider HungerRush.

HungerRush data shows that 93% of customers visit fast-casual restaurants at least once a month, with 32% dining out four to six times a month. Consumers cite lower price points as the top motivator for selecting a quick-service restaurant. Tapping into coupons and marketing messages is a classic technique used by many to bring in new and existing customers and restaurant operators should be pleased to know these efforts are well received. Most consumers surveyed indicated a positive sentiment toward receiving marketing messages from restaurants, with only 29% saying they actively ignore or opt out of marketing communications. Moreover, 32% said they receive up to five marketing messages per week directly from restaurants, demonstrating an interest in consistently hearing from multiple businesses.

Overwhelmingly, consumers are more likely to act within one week of receiving a marketing message, whether that be a coupon, a promotion or menu/seasonal updates. In fact, 62% of consumers said they are 50% to 100% more likely to visit a restaurant within one week after receiving a promotional offering.

Knowing what types of messages stick with a customer is instrumental in properly executing a successful marketing campaign. Eighty-two percent of consumers cite weekly or monthly menu updates as their top reason to stay in the loop with a restaurant – outside of deals and promotions – followed by new store openings at 43%. Lower-priority topics cited were business updates and community involvement news. Highlighting content that excites consumers’ taste buds and gives them incentives to repeat an order online or revisit a restaurant is key.

Across every age group surveyed, e-mail marketing was the preferred method of contact, with 63% saving e-mail messages, followed by mailers (61%) and text messages (55%). E-mail marketing messages are the most popular across all age demographics, with Baby Boomers (60%), Gen X (67%), Millennials (64%) and Gen Z (60%) all saying they save e-mail coupons more than physical mailers and text messages. As many as 61% of respondents said they use coupons and promotions as often as possible.

The HungerRush survey was conducted by Dynata in August 2023 with 1,000 U.S. consumers.

••• technology research

Overwhelmed but still wanting more

Consumers both drained and delighted by digital devices and experiences

A person wearing glasses looking at a screen.

The average number of digital devices in households has dropped by four in the past two years, from 25 to 21, but that doesn't mean consumers have less interest in them. Business consulting and services company Deloitte found that 48% of surveyed consumers purchased new connected devices for their household in the past year. Among respondents, 63% expect their spending on acquiring devices to stay the same over the next 12 months, with 9% planning to increase and 7% expecting to decrease spending.

Forty-nine percent of consumers have delayed device purchases due to economic conditions and 33% feel they can't afford to buy the tech devices their household needs (up from 25% in 2022). Consumers continue to grapple with managing their digital lives, with 41% saying they dislike managing their devices and 28% saying they feel overwhelmed by the number of devices and subscriptions they need to manage.

There has been an increase in consumer actions taken to protect data privacy and security, reflecting consumers’ heightened awareness and proactive stance towards digital safety. Smart home devices are indispensable to many and have become part of their daily lives – often being used to help increase home security.

Among consumers surveyed, 34% were victims of at least one kind of security breach in the past year and 16% experienced two or more. Gen Z was more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to have their social media account hacked (17% vs. 8%) and three times more likely than Baby Boomers to fall for an online scam (16% vs. 5%). Seventy-nine percent of consumers say they have taken at least one step to address their data privacy and security concerns.

There has been increased satisfaction with virtual health care services, signaling growing acceptance and understanding of digital access to health care. Forty-two percent of respondents had at least one virtual medical appointment in the past year and nine in 10 were very/somewhat satisfied with their virtual medical appointments.

The past year has also seen significant changes in consumer attitudes and behaviors towards fitness devices. Sixty-four percent of both smartwatch/fitness tracker and smartphone owners report these devices improve their health. Sixty-nine percent of smartwatch/fitness tracker users say the device improves their fitness and 58% of smartphone owners feel the same about their phones.

A significant portion of respondents expressed interest in continuing a blend of remote and in-person learning, showcasing an appreciation for the flexibility that virtual classrooms offer. For education, remote learning is gaining fans. Fifty-two percent of those who learned remotely over the past year would like to learn completely/mostly remotely in the future.

When it comes to hybrid work, respondents would like it to stay. Many people prefer a blend of remote and in-office work and report high levels of satisfaction with this arrangement. As employees adapt to hybrid work, the need for businesses to refresh and improve tech solutions becomes more apparent. Fifty-six percent of employed adults worked in a fully remote or hybrid way at their primary job over the past year (22% said they worked fully at home and 34% split their time between in-office and at-home). Many remote and hybrid workers feel that working from home has improved their relationships and emotional well-being. Among respondents, 45% said working from home caused family relationships to improve and 40% said it improved their emotional well-being.

Consumers continue to call for innovative apps and experiences that take full advantage of 5G technology capabilities. More than half of the respondents with 5G smartphones (53%) said they're looking for these apps and 26% expressed disappointment in the lack of such innovative apps and services. Overall, 62% of consumers with smartphones say they have 5G, up from 50% in 2022. 5G smartphone users say they do more of some things, compared to before they had 5G, with one in five using their phone more to pay for items in a store and to act as a hotspot.

The study found that there will be growth in immersive 3D experiences and growing interest and awareness in generative AI among consumers, especially in the younger generations. More than six in 10 Gen Zs and more than half of Millennials are interested in learning by viewing or interacting with 3D objects or representations; traveling to places of interest virtually; meeting with friends and family in 3D spaces; attending 3D virtual entertainment events; and shopping in 3D stores. Seventeen percent said they have experimented with generative Al or used it for projects/tasks. Of these, 72% used it for personal purposes, 21% for school/education and 20% for their job/professional purposes and 72% plan to keep using it.

The Deloitte Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications conducted this survey with 2,018 U.S. consumers in Q2 2023.

••• shopper insights

Nearer, my store, to thee

Proximity, personalization are key shopping factors

Shopping carts on a blue background with a shopping cart on a target.

Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers all have distinctly different brand expectations, shopping preferences and patterns and outlooks for the future. Online shopping is widely adopted across generations but data platform Near Intelligence found that younger generations are leading the way in omnichannel shopping.

Eighty percent of respondents across generations are shopping online and Gen Z (63%) and Millennials (64%) are twice as likely as Baby Boomers (33%) to use omnichannel approaches, where shoppers use more than one channel in their purchase journey. Fifty-two percent of respondents overall have adopted omnichannel behaviors.

When it comes to in-store shopping, Gen Z and Millennials are seeking deeper engagement and personalized experiences from brands and shopping centers. Eighty-eight percent of Gen Z and Millennials want to engage with their favorite shopping center compared to 53% of Baby Boomers. Fifty-four percent of Gen Z and Millennials shop more from brands that have an app vs. 21% of Baby Boomers. Eighty-four percent of Gen Z is also more encouraged to shop in stores with personalized in-store recommendations based on previous shopping history compared to 59% of Gen X and Baby Boomers.

A shopping center’s proximity to a respondent’s home has emerged as a critical factor, especially among younger generations. Over half of respondents (57%) consider proximity to home as a top priority while 16% consider proximity to work as a factor. Sixty-four percent of working-aged respondents (18-65) are commuting to an office at least one day a week. This is higher for younger generations (72% of Gen Z and 70% of Millennials). Fifty-seven percent of office commuters say remote and hybrid work makes it easier to shop during the work week.

Younger consumers (52% of Gen Z and 48% of Millennials) planned to spend more on shopping in the second half of 2023 and throughout the holidays compared to just 29% of Gen X and 21% of Baby Boomers. However, Millennials and Gen X shoppers are the most impacted by the economy. Forty-two percent of Millennials and 43% of Gen X say the economy is affecting their spending plans versus 33% of Gen Z and 34% of Baby Boomers.

Near Intelligence surveyed 2,048 global consumers across generations in the U.S., U.K. and Australia from July 7-19, 2023.

••• pet care research

Pet expenditures continue to climb

Owners seek bargains, high-quality products

A golden retriever wearing dollar sign sunglasses.

When it comes to pet ownership, consumers love their pets like a child, even going so far as to create social media accounts for them. And that dedication shows no signs of abating, with marketing solutions provider Vericast reporting that pet owners plan to increase spend on food, treats, supplements and hygiene products as well as gifts.

Consumers overwhelmingly feel that pets are family, with over three-quarters (76%) of pet owners viewing their pet as their child. Millennials felt most this way at 82%, followed by Gen X (75%), Gen Z (70%) and Baby Boomers (67%). About 80% of pet owners commemorate pet birthdays and holidays with a special gift or treat. Forty-one percent of respondents refer to their pet as a support/service animal to gain special privileges of some kind. Over 62% of respondents consider quality time with pets equally (47%) as important as time with a partner or even more important (15%) as time with a partner. Almost one-third (32%) of pet owners indicate having a dedicated social media account for their pet.

About 62% of pet owners surveyed say that they're spending more to keep their pets busy. Of those that work fully remote, 74% plan to spend more on toys and activities to occupy pets during the day. Consumers will spend more on pets, especially when it comes to their health but they'd like to save money where possible. About 37% of consumers surveyed looked for discounts for pet spending in 2023 and 28% used loyalty programs. About 78% of survey respondents were more willing to spend more on pet food and treats in 2023 than in 2022, indicating an interest in higher-quality products. Over a third of consumers (38%) were willing to spend more on health products like vitamins and supplements in 2023 and 38% of respondents also said they would spend more on pet hygiene products.

Pet owners are shopping where they're most likely to find discounts – pet specialty big-box stores and retailers. Almost one-third (32%) of people shop for their pets at big brand specialty stores. The next most common spot for pet purchases were other big-box shops, with 30% of consumers shopping at them. Twenty percent of consumers preferred e-commerce shopping for pets while only 13% of consumers said they are willing to shop at local, boutique pet stores.

Vericast’s consumer survey was conducted with over 700 pet owners.

••• financial services research

More perks, please

Global views on digital vs. traditional banking

An orange piggy bank on an orange background.

Despite major technological advancements in digital banking, insight company UserTesting found that 27% of people globally still “strictly” use traditional banks, ditching digital-only completely – including 28% of Baby Boomers and 26% of Millennials. In comparison, only 12% overall globally said they’d rather use a digital bank with no physical presence. Digital banking has its advantages, yet four in five digital bank users wish they also offered some of the same perks as traditional banks.

A higher percentage of Americans find digital wallets more trustworthy than their banking counterparts from Australia and the U.K. Sixty-seven percent of American respondents trust digital wallets and mobile banking apps and they are most popular among the younger generations (76% of Gen Z and 86% of Millennials) and least popular among Baby Boomers (48%). Fifty-four percent of respondents from the U.K. say they trust digital wallets and mobile banking apps and they are most popular across a variety of generations including Gen X (64%) and Baby Boomers (60%) and least popular among the Silent Generation (47%). Among Australians, 45% trust digital wallets and mobile banking apps and have a greater popularity among the younger generations (53% of Gen Z and 52% of Millennials) and are least popular among Baby Boomers (36%).

Similarly, a higher percentage of Americans trust digital banks over traditional banks compared to their counterparts in the U.K. and Australia. Thirty-three percent of Americans trust traditional banks more than digital banks, 28% trust both equally and 29% trust digital banks more than physical banks. Thirty-five percent of Australians respondents trust traditional banks more than digital banks, 42% trust both equally and only 4% trust digital banks more. In the U.K., 28% of respondents trust traditional banks more, while 52% trust both equally and only 7% trust digital banks more than traditional banks.

Only 6% of Americans, 11% of Australians and 6% of Brits claim to not trust banks at all.

Four in five (79%) American digital bank users would like some of the perks traditional banks have and 43% want the ability to talk to humans for customer support. This is especially true for Gen Z (60%) and the Silent Generation (49%). Forty-three percent of respondents prefer the waived fees that customers get at their traditional banks ATM. Seventy-three percent of Australian digital bank users wish their banks offered some of the perks traditional banks have and 31% would like to speak to humans for customer support. This holds true for the Silent Generation (47%) and Gen Z (34%). Additionally, 26% of respondents like the waived ATM fees that traditional bank customers get. Seven out of 10 (71%) digital bank users in the United Kingdom also want traditional banking perks. Twenty-seven percent want the ability to talk to humans for customer support, which is most important among the Silent Generation (43%) and Millennials (30%). Twenty-three percent of Brits feel that traditional banks offer better perks and rewards for their cards compared to those from digital banks.

While most respondents prefer to conduct their banking business with traditional banks, a minority of respondents speak with banking tellers on a regular basis. Fifty-one percent of Americans, 44% of Australians and 43% of Brits claim to prefer to speak with tellers face-to-face. While most respondents prefer banking with the option for human interaction, 55% of Americans have not actually spoken with a bank teller face-to-face in the past two weeks, compared to 88% of respondents from Australia and 81% of respondents from the United Kingdom.

This survey was commissioned by UserTesting and conducted by OnePoll with 1,800 people in the U.S., 1,000 people in the U.K. and 1,000 people in Australia. The survey was fielded from March 3-April 12, 2023.