Consumer Spending Favors In-Person Experiences

While shoppers are still spending in today’s high-inflation environment, they are prioritizing where to invest their dollars, according to a Gravy Analytics trends report from the second quarter of 2022.

Dining Preferences Shift

Many consumers are choosing to cut back on their go-to fast foods from the height of the pandemic, while visits to sit-down establishments are on the rise.

In the second quarter, foot traffic to fast food restaurants was down 18% year over year. Between rising inflation and changes to discretionary spending, business lunches and coffee shop meetings also appear to be on the downswing. Visits to steakhouses were flat, while visits to coffee shops were down by 8%.

Meanwhile, consumers are showing more interest in eating at bistros (+14%) and grills (+15%), which favor affordability, although 3% are still avoiding buffets.

Bars and nightclubs are also recovering their clientele. Visits to nightclubs were up by 7% year over year in Q2, while bar visits were up by 12%.

Prioritizing Experiences

During the same time period, consumers began returning to both indoor and outdoor activities with larger crowds. Foot traffic to outdoor and recreational locations was 23% higher year-over-year, while entertainment venues saw 33% more foot traffic.

Travel was another priority, with airport foot traffic up by 67% in the second quarter.

“Insights from our report show that consumers are refusing to put their lives on hold any longer now that the country has opened up following two years of pandemic restrictions,” said Jeff White, founder and CEO of Gravy Analytics in a company press release. “Amid heavy inflation this year, many consumers seem to be carefully considering where they spend their money and are opting for experiences over material goods.”