Millennials represent about 14.5 billion restaurant visits and $96 billion in spending,
The fast food industry may deserve a break today, but it’s not going to get it from Millennials, according to a recent consumer spending trends report.
Millennials, who have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in history, represent about 14.5 billion restaurant visits and $96 billion in spending, according to a study conducted by the NPD Group. This comprises nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of restaurant dollars. But Millennials have cut back in visits and spending, the consumer spending trends report finds.
Millennials are not a homogeneous group, the report determines. There are younger Millennials (ages 18-24) and older Millennials (25-34). Visits and spending compared with 2007 is down for both groups. Younger Millennials have made 33 fewer visits and have spent $146 less per person. Older Millennials have made 50 fewer visits per person over the last several years and annual spending is own $213 per person.
But the reasons for the declines are unique to each group. Older Millennials, the study finds, are more likely to have families and find that it is cheaper to eat at home. In addition to cost, eating healthier is another priority, and by healthier, this means fresher and less processed. “(Millennials) feel better about cooking at home because they consider it healthier and it tastes better than what they can get away-from-home,” the report states.
When they do eat out, they are being increasingly drawn to healthier-options being served up by such fast-casual restaurants as Chipotle and Panera Bread. McDonald’s, still the industry leader, but losing market share, is trying to get some of its mojo back with a perception-busting ad campaign to tout fresh or healthy ingredients in its food.
But another report suggests Millennials are not all that different in their fast food habits as previous generations. According to Morgan Stanley, McDonald’s, fast, convenient, and low-cost, is the restaurant most visited by Millennials. They just don’t tell anyone and are loathe to give it their endorsement.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.