This is the final post of a 4 part series but if you can't wait for the rest to come out you can get the whole report here!
This post is a continuation of our series on our nationwide concession survey. This survey data is meant to paint a broad picture of the overall spending trends of different demographics across the United States.
Last week we discussed Question 4 -- Which rewards would motivate you to leave feedback the most?
We discovered that overall, 56% would be motivated by a free reward, no purchase necessary and 51% were motivated by a free gift with every purchase. While the data didn't seem to vary significantly across demographics, it was worth noting that 83% of men above the age of 50 strongly desired a free item without purchase.
But, what do guests purchase at the concession stand? Are there any items that would be more likely to increase foot-traffic? These were some of the questions floating around in our mind which is why we ended our survey with these 2 questions: what did you purchase at the theater concession stand on your last three visits and what one item currently unavailable at the concession stand would you like to see added?
What did we find? Well, let us show you...
5. What did you purchase at the theater concession stand on your last three visits?
In an attempt to turn the movie going experience into just that, an experience, movie theaters have been upgrading their concession stands to include any snacks, foods and desserts one can think of. But sometimes the old standbys are still the best. Movies and popcorn are inseparable in the mind of American moviegoers.
Out of the 94% of moviegoers who said they made a purchase in their last three visits, 84% of them bought popcorn. Across all ages, Males almost always (99/100) buy soda when they purchase popcorn. Soda was a close second at 77% across all demographics. This means for every 100 popcorn purchases there are 95 soda purchases.
Popcorn, Soda and Candy are the 3 most purchased items
It’s easy to draw the conclusion that salty popcorn may encourage soda purchases, which is great for theater owners. Both of these items are still popular among all demographics and boast particularly high margins.
Candy came in third with about one being purchased for every two popcorns. The 51 and over demographic of both genders are least likely to buy candy than any other demographic (4 in 10 visits) and over half are as likely to buy candy as they are to buy popcorn (9.2 in 10) with soda. Infact, 85% of those over 50 purchase only popcorn and soda and only 15% bought anything other than popcorn and soda. They also spend the least amount of money on alcohol than any other demographic as they are the most likely to just associate the purchase of popcorn and soda with the moviegoing experience.
After candy came hot dogs (13% of respondents purchased in last 3 visits), pizza (12%) and ICEE (12%) as the next most popular concession items. Interestingly, 18 - 23 Females are the only demographic who purchased more ICEEs (19%) than pizza (13%) or hot dogs (12%). Guests over 31 are 50% more likely to buy hot dogs than pizza, but Millennials love pizza! They are 10% more likely to buy pizza than hot dogs.
6. What one item currently unavailable at the concession stand would you like to see added?
For this question we allowed survey takers to write down any concession item they could think of. Some guests truly let their imagination run wild. We decided to categorize common items together. Suggestions for popsicles, sorbet and ice cream all fall under “ice cream.”
Veggies, fruit, nuts, and generic “healthy food” are categorized as healthy snacks. Overall, 40 “new” product ideas were suggested.
A majority of the most detailed suggestions came from the 18 - 23 age group (specifically Females) while 31 - 40 Females gave the most suggestions regarding new product ideas for children. This suggests these demographics are highly engaged and strong advocates for innovation at the concession stand.
The older demographic groups are more content with the existing product range (28% of 51 and over suggest no new products) versus 18 - 23 (18%). While 1 in 5 was content with the offerings currently at their concession stands, one trend we did notice was that many over 50s desired products that enhance their popcorn and drink experience. We saw suggestions for different popcorn flavorings and varieties like air-popped corn. Interestingly, we saw fruit juice as a highly suggested alternative to soda.
Ice cream (18%), which is commonplace in UK cinemas, was the number one suggested item overall. The highest demand for ice cream was by young millennial Females (18 - 23), making up 27% of ice cream responses. 39% of all ice cream responses across all ages came from 18 - 23 year olds alone. Millennials requested a wide variety of ice cream flavors and types, including items like sorbet and sandwiches.
Healthy snacks came in a close second (15%) with the 31 - 40 Female respondents suggesting healthy foods more than any other demographic. They are also the only demographic to prioritize health food (26%) over other food categories.
1 in every 2.5 new product suggestions by Females can be categorized as “fast food.” For Males, 1 in every 2.2 suggestions could be categorized as “fast food.” Fast food contains foods like burgers, fries, hot dogs and anything else that’s purchasable through a drive-thru.
Pizza was tied equally for 4th place with fries. Pizza was a huge request (26%) among young and old Millennials and they listed in detail their desire for a wide range of customizable pizzas. The highest demand for pizza, however, was 18 - 23 Females (17%) followed by 41 - 50 Females (12%).
Out of wine, cocktails and beer, beer was the most requested type of alcohol among all demographics. Wine came in as a close second.
The Main Point:
Overall our study suggests, regardless of age or gender, moviegoers are willing to engage with exhibitors to improve their overall guest experience and this includes concessions. We found Females aged 31 to 40 the “surprise” Rockstar demographic exhibitors should focus on besides simply Millennials. We would also suggest that those over 50 are the most reliable spenders at the concession stands and minimal tweaks will future-proof that income source. Keep in mind, to get the most accurate picture of your own guest’s views of your concession stand, you need to run your own customer surveys. Once you see the concession experience through the eyes of these guests, endless opportunities will open up.
Want to find out all the details? Download our concession survey whitepaper.