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Here's What 10,000 Moviegoers Want at the Concession Stand

Posted by Renee Goble on Jun 12, 2018 7:00:00 AM
Renee Goble

In January 2018, SurveyMe asked over 10,000 moviegoers across North America 13 questions about their concession stand experience at the movie theatre. Results were analyzed by age, gender and whether the guests are movie theatre loyalty program members. SurveyMe experts used the SurveyMe SM@RT Insights™ Interactive Dashboard to analyze the responses.

While the entirety of our results are published in a comprehensive Ebook, here are some key statistics to wet your whistle.

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34% of ALL respondents were Rockstars (i.e. 31-50 year old Females). Rockstars have the highest average transaction value (ATV) at movie theatre concession.

36% of all respondents are defined as Reliables (i.e. Males & Females, over 51 years old).

36% of ALL respondents visit the concession stand every time they visit.

Only 2% of ALL respondents NEVER visit the concession stand, making the study sample statistically relevant.

Non-loyalty program moviegoers are 10% MORE LIKELY to prefer dine-in service at the movie theatre than loyalty program moviegoers.


Q1 “How soon do you arrive at the theatre before a movie?”

The average arrival time across all age groups is 19 minutes 23 seconds before scheduled showtime.

18-24 year old moviegoers arrive earliest, on average, but they are also the least likely to visit the concession stand.

Those who arrive between 0-20 minutes before showtime typically visit the concession stand the most frequently (23%) versus those who arrive more than 30 minutes early (11%). This suggests a tendency toward impulse buying.


Q2 “How often do you visit the concession stand when you visit a theatre?”

49% of all respondents state they visit the concession “every time,” 26% visit “most times.”

34% of Rebels (Millennials) say they visit the concession “every time.”

52% of Females visit the concession stand every time versus 43% of Male moviegoers.


Q3 “If you choose not to visit the concession stand, what is the main reason why?”

65% cite “too expensive” as the main reason for not visiting the concession.

“Lines are too long” is the second most important factor cited by 16% of BOTH Males and Females.

The older moviegoers are, the more likely they are to complain about high concession prices, but the less sensitive they are to higher prices.


Q4 “What do you usually buy at the concession stand?”

Percentage what people buy at the movies

Overall Concession Purchasing trends

85% of Reliables purchase only popcorn and soda.

Reliables are most likely to associate the purchase of popcorn & soda with the movie theatre experience.

Almost 9 out of every 10 moviegoers who buy candy also buy popcorn (89%) and soda (85%).

The “Big Four” most popular concession products that moviegoers buy are Popcorn (39%), Soda (33%), Candy (12%), and ICEEs (5%).

Besides the Top Four, Pretzels, Hot Dogs, and Alcohol are the most purchased items by 31-40 year old Females .


Q5 “Which item(s) would you like to see added to the concession stand?”

Overall, Males and Females equally say that they want French Fries (17%), Fruit & Veggies (14%), Ice Cream (13%), and then Pizza (12%).

For Millennials, French Fries is the number one choice for new concession items (over 1 in 5 respondents) followed by ice cream (14%) and pizza (11%).

27% of respondents wanted Hot Drinks (Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate) added to the menu. As a combined category, this is the #1 request from ALL respondents.


Q6 “What candy do you like to mix with your popcorn?”

Relative to all possible selections across all age groups, M&Ms are the number 1 choice for moviegoers to mix with popcorn.

36% of guests prefer M&Ms as their candy of choice when combining it with popcorn, followed by Reese's Pieces (16%).


Q7 “How much do you usually spend at the concession stand?”

Average Concession Spend

The average amount spent at the concession stand across the country is $19. 31-40 year old Females typically spend approximately $20.

31-40 year-olds spend the most at an average of $20.97.


Q8 “Which of these rewards would best incentivize you to visit the concession stand or bar?”

Overall, “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” is the most popular reward offered (28%).

28% of Millennials preferred a BOGO offer, closely followed by “Free Item with Drink Purchase” (25%).

When looking at the responses per age group, “Discount” scored highest for those Over 50 (27%), closely followed by “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” (26%).


Q9 “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to attend a dine-in theatre versus a theatre with no dining?”

dine in vs. no dine in

On average, where 0 = not at all and 10 = extremely likely, the average score is 4.8 across all moviegoer age groups.

Rockstars are 11% MORE LIKELY to visit a dine-in concept than the average moviegoer across all demographics.

30% of those who stated date night as a reason to visit a dine-in at a movie theatre were 31-40 year old moviegoers.

Guests who buy alcohol are 39% more likely than the overall average to choose to attend a dine-in theatre versus a regular theatre (score = 6.7 versus an average score of 4.8 for all demographics).


Q10 “If you are more likely to attend a dine-in theatre over a regular theatre, please explain why.”

Despite this being a question that respondents were not forced to answer, 47% of ALL respondents provide an answer.

There are 3 principal reasons for why people choose dine-in over a regular theatre: Convenience – 18%, Enhanced Theatre Experience – 13%, Personal celebratory occasions – 5%.


Q11 “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to prefer a theatre that features alcohol service?”

Rockstars are 22% MORE LIKELY to purchase alcohol than the average moviegoer across all demographics.

25-30 year old moviegoers and 31-40 year old moviegoers are equally “most likely” to buy alcohol. They are also most likely to dine-in at movie theatres.


Q12 “If you do prefer alcohol service, which alcohol do you prefer?”

Cocktails were the most popular alcoholic choice overall and the most popular choice for 25-30 year olds.

Beer was the most popular choice for 25-30 year old Males (31%).

Cocktails were the most popular choice for 25-30 year old Females (32%).


Q13 “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to attend an eSport video gaming event put on by a movie theatre near you?”

eSports Gaming scale

Current data suggests eSport gaming is a niche event

Where 0 = not at all and 10 = extremely likely - across all age groups, the average score was 2.1. This suggests that there is no mass appeal.

Male and Female Millennials (38% of all who scored 9 or 10) are most likely to attend an eSports event. Albeit a statistically small sample, this suggests that Male and Female Millennials are equally likely to attend an eSports event.


To find out more about 2018 concession trends and how you can increase per cap revenue at theatres and restaurants, download a free copy of our Concession Survey Ebook.

Want to find out how you can take action on these insights? Our Client Experience Team is always here to help walk you through it.

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Topics: Customer Engagement

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