ChangeWave’s March Consumer Spending Report shows an upswing in U.S. consumer spending as well as increased momentum for Restaurants.
In a separate survey we took a close-up look at consumer dining habits for the next 90 days, including the restaurant chains consumers will be visiting more and less.
Clear Improvement for March
After three months of virtually no change, we’re now seeing an improvement in restaurant spending. One-in-seven respondents (14%) say they’ll spend more money at restaurants going forward – up 1-pt from February, while just 27% say they’ll spend less – a 3-pt improvement.
Looking Ahead – Next 90 Days. One-in-five respondents (20%) expect to dine out More Frequently over the next 90 days, down just 1-pt from previously. Meanwhile, 19% say they’ll dine out Less Frequently, a 1-pt improvement.
When we asked consumers who expect to dine out ‘More Frequently’ over the next 90 days to tell us why, the top reasons were Traveling More (53%; up 10-pts) and Less Time to Cook at Home (23%; down 2-pts).
Other areas of improvement include Increased Income (13%; up 3-pts), Less Concern About Job Security (9%; up 5-pts), and Not Trying to Save as Much Money (8%; up 3-pts).
We asked respondents to tell us which types of restaurants they’ll be eating at more or less often over the next 90 days – and the two categories showing improvement since November were Moderate Casual Dining Restaurants (Change in Net Difference Score = +4) followed by High End Casual Restaurants (+1).
On the other hand, Upscale/Fine Dining Restaurants (-3) and Fast Food Restaurants (-2) both registered declines.
Individual Restaurant Chains
We also asked respondents which individual restaurant chains they’d be spending more vs. less money at over the next 90 days – and we compared those results with findings from our previous survey. Here are the best- and worst-positioned restaurant chains:
Top 3 chains broken out by dining category :
- High End Casual Dining Restaurants: Red Lobster (DRI; +3)
- Moderate Casual Dining Restaurants: Applebee’s (DIN; +2)
- Quick Casual Restaurants: IHOP (DIN; +2)
Bottom 2 chains broken out by dining category :
- Moderate Casual Dining Restaurants: Texas Roadhouse (TXRH; -3)
- Fast Food Restaurants: McDonald’s (MCD; -5)
Coffee Buying Trends
A total of 27% of respondents report they typically buy fresh brewed coffee from a coffee shop or restaurant. We took a close-up look at this group to find out where they’ll be buying their coffee over the next 90 days.
McDonalds (Change in Net Difference Score = +5), Borders Books (+5), and Panera (+4) are all showing signs of momentum in the coffee marketplace going forward.
Starbucks (SBUX) remains strong in terms of consumer coffee buying, despite suffering a 2-pt slide since our November 2009 survey.
Starbucks (28%; up 1-pt) also remains the top ‘Brew at Home’ coffee brand cited by coffee drinkers, followed by Folgers (20%; unchanged).