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It’s no secret that members of Generation Z have short attention spans. Clocking in at just eight seconds, this impatience spills into practically every area of their lives, from advertisements to entertainment. And when it comes to their favorite restaurant delivery services, Gen Zers want their food NOW. Like, right now. And 2o2o proved that month over month, Generation Zers are the most likely to use food delivery apps when ordering from their favorite restaurants.
Last year’s online restaurant sales more than doubled from 2019, and the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020 added more than 8 million orders to the grocery delivery service Instacart. This massive growth continued, with Instacart reaching 9.14 million orders in April, just two months after receiving only 820,000 orders in February. And it doesn’t stop there—the market for online food and grocery delivery has the potential to reach $34.2 billion in the U.S. by the year 2026.
We know that Gen Zers love to eat. A UNiDAYS study of more than 1,800 students in the U.S. found that 78 percent spent the majority of their money outside of tuition and rent on food. The average Gen Z household spends about $760 on food each month, with about $550 going to groceries.
This is why Gen Zers expect near-real time service when it comes to satisfying their real-time hunger pangs. Restaurant owners and delivery platforms unwilling to meet this generation’s demand for immediacy need to step up their game—or get out of the way. Even prior to COVID-19, at least 24 percent of Gen Z ordered food online three or four times per week.
“Students have an annual estimated global spend power of $200bn, and an indirect parental spend power of $3 trillion. By the end of 2020, Gen Z were forecast to be the largest group of consumers globally, but with an 8 second attention span, compared to 12 seconds of a Millennial, brands must not only capture their attention, but fight to keep it too.” Josh Rathour, CEO UNiDAYS
Available data shows a portrait of a generation that doesn’t want to wait patiently for a meal. In fact, 60 percent of 18-24-year-olds will hang up the phone if a business doesn’t answer right away. Luckily, Gen Z’s favorite restaurants were able to keep up with the boost in delivery orders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Speedy delivery” isn’t the only factor restaurants need to consider when engaging with Gen Z. Dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover some interesting facts: Although Gen Zers are more price-conscious than millennials, they’re also more mindful about healthy eating choices with just as much potential for spending power. In fact, Gen Zers are fueling plant-based and meatless food purchases—a market expected to reach $35.5 billion by 2027.
To meet the younger generation's demand for healthy meals, delivery platforms should offer information about the nutritional content of their food, especially when catering to college students. Gen Zers value brand authenticity, and they’re more than willing to support brands that are real and honest with them.
What does this all mean? It means that near-instant delivery of food is becoming a reality. Consumer expectation and demand will only increase as faster delivery systems are developed. (Fifty-six percent of Gen Zers are all about a one-hour drone delivery service.) Waiting patiently for meals has become a thing of the past, and members of Generation Z aren’t having it. The need for fast, efficient food delivery service has only increased following last year’s COVID-19 shutdowns, and platforms that are unable to meet this demand will quickly become obsolete.
As restaurants begin to open back up, food industry brands have an opportunity to use marketing to capitalize on customers wanting to explore new dining options. Looking to cater to hungry Gen Zers? Download our free report, Gen Z Insights: What Restaurants Need to Know.
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