Consumer Insights Survey Reveals Restaurant Financial Health Heavily Influenced by the Gender Divide

Empathica Inc., a provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to some of the world's most respected brands, announced today that its survey of more than 7,200 American consumers indicates that women are more frugal in a down economy.
While overall spending was down, with only 5% of survey participants spending more in 2009 compared to 2008, results showed that women (72%) moderately to significantly cut spending to a greater extent than men (62%).
In fact, out of 15 industry sectors, only four were unaffected by gender differences, noting similar levels of reduced spending at gas stations, bars, hotels and airlines.
Restaurants, specifically, were largely impacted by gender differences. During 2009, only one in 10 men indicated they never eat out at restaurants. This compared to one in five women who say they never eat out.
The Empathica Consumer Insights survey indicated that a coupon would entice 48.3% of women to try a new restaurant while fewer men, 39.8%, would be influenced by this offer.
While women are more likely to use coupons in order to try a new restaurant, they are also slightly more forgiving of a bad restaurant experience at a familiar establishment. Eight percent of men cited a negative experience at a familiar restaurant as their top reason to try a new restaurant, yet only 4% of women cited the same reason.

Regional comparisons
Regionally, in respect to the U.S. Census divisions, consumers in the West indicated a more significant financial impact as a result of economic conditions.
Percentage of those who reduced spending in 2009 compared to 2008:
  • In the Midwest -- 65%
  • In the Northeast -- 65%
  • In the South -- 68%
  • In the West -- 70%
Though they indicate 2009 has been rough compared to 2008, those in the West are increasing their spending at casual dining restaurants (6.1%) more than any other region [Midwest (3.1%), Northeast (3.4%), South (4.3%)] and cutting back with pharmaceutical purchases.
Percentage of those who said they spent less on pharmacy in 2009
  • In the Midwest -- 18.8%
  • In the Northeast -- 19.0%
  • In the South -- 19.0%
  • In the West -- 23.2%

General economic sentiments
The overall sectors most impacted by a reduction in spending were hotels, bars, airlines, dining establishments, electronics stores and furniture stores. Pharmacy, supermarkets, gas stations and other staple goods and services were least effected by those who cut back on spending. The top concerns from consumers who reduced their spending in 2009, in order:

  • (1) Debt
  • (2) Job Security
  • (3) Health
  • (4) Economy

Of those surveyed, 57% were optimistic about the economy, with one in three indicating they anticipate their financial situation will be somewhat to much better in the next six months.

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