McDonald’s is Losing Millennials to Starbucks in New Survey

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM, Marketing and Sales by Vaughn Highfield

McDonald's, Fries, Burgers, Burger King, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks,

A new survey suggests that millennials are trading Big Macs for grande cappuccinos

McDonald’s were once the top-dog of the youth market when it came to fast food outlets. The Vaseline-smeared camera lenses used to film those early ’80s ads certainly worked to bring in the youth crowd then, but that magic has seemingly worn off as the younger market has decided that high-end coffee is more their cup of tea.

According to new research from Goldman Sachs into the restaurant preferences of millennials, survey results from 2000 participants aged 34 or under showed a surprising trend: pizza and coffee trounces burgers and fast-food.

Looking into the chart Goldman compiled, more traditionally popular outlets, such as KFC and McDonald’s sat at the very bottom of the scale in terms of popularity. The likes of Subway, Burger King and Wendy’s ranked higher on the scale – but not by much. Around the middle sat the delights of Taco Bell, Chick-Fill-A, Five Guys, Sonic, and Pizza Hut. While the likes of Quiznos, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chipotle, Papa John’s, and Domino’s sat at the top, with Starbucks ruling the roost entirely.

Goldman Sachs Millennial consumer survey

Why is this important then? After all, millennials are widely shoehorned into a category of people who have too little money and spend far too much.

But that will change once the baby boomers move out of town and let the millennials take their jobs – and with it, their spending power. These are the future spenders of America and getting them onside from a younger age is crucial to the longevity of a business, or so Goldman argues.

It seems that it’s not just the popularity of these restaurants with millennials either, many perceive Starbucks to have more value behind it that McDonald’s, creating a handy numerical “brand equity”, Goldman has managed to rank the surveyed restaurants accordingly.

No surprises that, once again, McDonald’s sits towards the bottom with 63.3. On the other end is Starbucks with a portly 73.1. Other notable chains are Chipotle and Subway on 71.4 and 70.5 respectively, and Burger King sitting on 64.5. Strangely, Pizza Hut sits higher than Domino’s – despite Domino’s popularity with millennials.

Either way, it’s clear that the youth would rather spend their last-few coppers on a fair-trade macchiato than wolfing down some Chicken Nuggets and fries.


[Image: nan_cymk – Flickr] [Chart: Quartz]

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