For restaurants, summer usually brings with it a rush of spending, with consumers enjoying the warm weather and splurging for meaningful dining experiences during their vacations. Yet, this year, the summer rush did not last very long.
For the PYMNTS study “Digital Economy Payments: Consumers Buy Into Food Bargains,” we surveyed nearly 2,700 U.S. consumers in July about how they are saving and spending their dollars as the economy faces continuing uncertainty.
What we found indicates that consumers got all their summer fun out of their systems early this year. In July, 70% of consumers reported having made a restaurant purchase in the previous 30 days, down from 73% in May and 72% in June, closer to the 69% that said the same in March and April.
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Middle-income consumers pulled back on their restaurant spending more than any other income group in that period, with share of consumers who had made a restaurant purchase in the previous 30 days declining five points from 78% to 73% among those making $50,000-$100,000. In contrast, the share of consumers making more than $100,000 who purchased from restaurants in that period only declined one point, as did that of consumers making less than $50,000.
Yet while Gen Zers, Gen Xers and baby boomers and seniors decreased their restaurant purchasing in July, millennials and bridge millennials actually stepped it up, with the former group increasing from 71% to 72% from June to July and the latter from 72% to 74% in the same period.
Per the study, “Many millennials and bridge millennials are also parents, and we suspect they may be spending more in restaurants to feed Gen Z or Generation Alpha children at home for summer vacation.”