This is the first of a 4 part series and we hope you find the results as fascinating as we did!
We surveyed thousands of moviegoers, from over 3,000 theaters across the United States, about their thoughts on movie theater concession stands. We conducted our survey over 10 days during July, using real-time feedback, with over 5,000 responses.
A view of all our responses!
Of the 5,089 moviegoers who responded, 67% of respondents were Female, 31% were Male and 2% declined to answer. Results from this concession survey may not be completely accurate for each unique theater, but the methodology used for collecting the data is complete, statistically sound and verifiable.
This first post will focus on our findings from Question 1: How likely are you to make a purchase at the concession stand?
This question was asked with a sliding scale of 0-10 with 0 being “not at all” and 10 being “extremely likely.”
Every theater owner wants to drive customers to the concession stands and we wanted to know the likelihood of an average guest stopping by for a popcorn or soda. According to our survey results, most guests, no matter their gender or age, will stop by the concession stand while visiting a movie theater.
About 33% percent of participants overall said they are “extremely likely” to stop by the concession stand (giving a rating of 10 out of 10) when visiting their local movie theater.
Guests overall are 4.7 times more positive (rated between 6 and 10) than negative (rated between 0 to 4) about visiting the concession stand.
MPAA released stats in 2016 that stated Millennial (18 - 24) movie attendance was up over previous years, but according to our findings they have the least desire to visit the concession stand when at the movies. This bodes well for the motion picture industry, but poorly for movie theaters and their owners.
There may be more Millennials heading to the theater, but they are more likely to pass by the concession stand.
Why Millennials are ditching the concession stand needs to be researched on a per theater basis using surveys. It could be a lack of income, it could be they are sneaking food into the theater or they may just find the choices offered at the concession stand unappealing.
We ran a small side-survey of mostly Southern Californian Millennials to see some of the reasons why they are sneaking in food. It turns out a whopping 94% of them admitted to sneaking food into the theater.
75% cited multiple reasons for sneaking food into movie theaters. Among those reasons, “poor value” came in first followed by “want to spend money elsewhere.”
The overall rationale for Millennials sneaking in food is tough to pin down because each person has their own specific reason and 27% cited only one reason for sneaking food in. This shows there are multiple factors that influence the decision to not purchase from the concession stand. Out of those 27%, 56% gave the reason of “poor value.” When two or more reasons were given, 38% cited “poor value.”
27% of Millennials combined “poor value” with “want to spend money elsewhere.” This is the most frequent combination. Examples of “elsewhere” could be anything, but can be grouped around saving money for other priorities and buying food elsewhere.
The future isn’t all grim though. Guests between 24 and 30 (technically called older Millennials) are 9 times more likely to make a purchase than their younger counterparts. This may support the conclusion that it could be income preventing young Millennials from spending on concession items.
Overall, guests above 50 years of age were most likely (7 out of 10) to make purchases at the concession stand. Women are overall 2% more likely to visit a theater’s concession stand when visiting a theater than men, but both genders are positive on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) scale.
Females between the ages of 31 to 40 are the demographic most likely to purchase an item. They rated their likeliness to visit about 6.8 times more positively than negatively.
These are just the beginning of our findings, but we have found them helpful in discovering how often consumers are buying items when they visit the movies and what influences their decisions. While this information is useful, to get the most out of it we needed to combine it with results on concession spending patterns.
Want to find out what we discovered? We'll be sharing all about it next week.
Interested in learning more about our concession results?