Starbucks Customers Are More Optimistic Than Most

Starbucks has partnered with Microsoft to add a new functionality to the Outlook app that allows users to setup meetings at nearby Starbucks stores.
Starbucks customers are more optimistic than most.

Starbucks customers are much more likely to order a side of optimism with their pumpkin spice latte, at least according to recent data.

According to The NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking survey, which polled more than 10,000 respondents on the statement “I am optimistic about the future,” consumers who responded that they felt more optimistic were more likely to frequent Starbucks or Chipotle.

Maybe there’s something about a burrito with guac or a frappuccino that just brings out the best in people?

“We have the ability to poll people who share their store receipts with us. When a receipt shows that someone bought Item A at Store B, we can ask the consumer why they chose that particular item at that particular store. We can ask why they didn’t buy a competing product. Or why they bought it at the mall and not online,” according to The NPD Group. “The business applications of such polling are fairly obvious. But sometimes it’s also interesting to ask more general questions and look at the receipts afterward.”

Interestingly enough, those who scored or responded more pessimistically tended to frequent Burger King, KFC and Arby’s.

But Starbucks’ popularity among the more optimistic consumers probably shouldn’t come as all that much of a surprise.

First, the coffee giant has been getting away with charging $4+ for coffee and other beverages for years.

And with over 24,000 locations around the world, for many, Starbucks has become their neighborhood coffee shop, where they can sit back and relax, read the paper, browse the internet or catch up with friends.

Starbucks has also begun an aggressive international expansion campaign in recent years that is seeing the coffee giant become very well-received in foreign markets, further spreading the joy.

So, it’s probably not all that surprising that Starbucks elicits good, positive, happy feelings among its customers.

But has Starbucks’ ubiquity rendered the chain too basic?

That’s what a recent piece from The Denver Post argues, as the coffee giant’s mainstream and Main Street appeal might hinder efforts to go high-end and appeal to a more discerning consumer.

In an effort to change its image, Starbucks opened a swanky Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle in 2014 dedicated to the “art” of coffee, where brews routinely sell for $10 or more. Starbucks plans to roll out additional Roastery locations in New York City and Shanghai by 2018 and possibly expand that brand by more than a dozen other locations if the concept is successful.

Starbucks began life as a high-end coffee option in 1971, but as the chain rapidly expanded to be perched on almost every street corner in America — OK, Starbucks locations might not be that omnipresent, but they are pretty popular — consumers have simply begun to view Starbucks as the McDonald’s or Burger King fast-food equivalent of coffee.

“A brand like Starbucks starts at the top, and as it expands, it becomes the new normal,” Pam Danzinger, author of “Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury,” told The Denver Post. “Now, it’s got to create that mystique once again.”

So, what other retailers do optimistic consumers tend to gravitate toward?

According to NPD Group’s data, consumers who scored high on the optimism quotient tend to shop at Amazon, Best Buy and Trader Joe’s.

While consumers who scored low for optimism typically shop at Dollar General, Home Depot and Lowe’s.


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.

Click to comment