How Loyal are Coffee Drinkers? Not Very, Says Customers DNA Benchmark Study

More Than Half of All Starbuck’s Customers Visit Competitive Chains

While there are many millions of coffee drinkers who rely completely on Starbuck’s to satisfy their coffee urges, more than half of Starbuck’s customer visits come from customers who regularly visit Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s for a hot beverage and/or breakfast over the course of a month.

This is among the findings of QSRdna, a massive benchmark survey of the annual shopping habits over 15,000 quick serve restaurant (QSR) customers conducted by CustomersDNA, a marketing and research consulting firm.

The QSRdna report found that while 41 percent of Starbuck’s customer visits come from customers who can be considered “loyals” who did not visit any other coffee/breakfast chain during the average month, 53 percent, identified as “roamers,” also stopped by either Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s during an average month.

Shopping patterns for Dunkin’ Donuts’ customers were similar (42 percent loyals and 53 percent roamers). McDonald’s had the most loyal customers, with 62 percent of the visits by those that did not visit either Starbuck’s or Dunkin’ Donuts during the average month.

“The significance of these patterns became clear when we found that the roamers purchased a hot beverage and/or breakfast nearly twice as often as loyals,” said Dave Jenkins, CustomersDNA's co-founder. “During the average month, loyal customers of each of the three chains visited their favorite store 6.7 times, while the roamers averaged 13 visits per month. Capturing more of these sometime-customers to is key to winning the coffee/breakfast battle.”

The study examined consumer visit patterns, frequency and customer loyalty and menu preferences across five purchase occasions (breakfast, lunch/dinner, hot beverage only, cold beverage only and frozen treat only) over the course of a 12 month period. The report provides chain operators with a diagnostic tool for identifying, evaluating and attracting high-value customers as well as detailing their spending levels, the items they purchase and which other chains they patronize.

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