Pull of Discounts Is Still Driving Many Consumer Decisions

New survey about QSR options underscores focus on prices

May 19, 2017

Although the Great Recession officially ended nearly eight years ago, its effect on consumer psychology continues to be felt, as shoppers' focus on price and value drives fierce competition and innovation across the retail and hospitality sectors. 

There seems to be no corner of the economy that is immune to price pressures, whether for everyday items, splurges, or underlying costs such as shipping.

The latest evidence comes from a survey by marketing agency YA, which found that discounts would not only be significant drivers for consumers to try new quick-service restaurants (QSRs), but also would sway their decisions when choosing among a variety of QSRs.

The survey found that roughly eight in 10 Americans probably would try a QSR for the first time if they were offered a discount.  

It also asked if consumers would choose one QSR over another if they had a discount or "BOGO" offer.  One-third said they would be very likely to go for the discount option, while nearly half (45%) said they would be at least somewhat likely.

Interestingly, YA also asked about usage of QSR apps, and found that more than one-quarter of the respondents said they had at least one such app on their phone.  Seven percent said they had multiple apps. 

The YA study was released amidst a string of corporate earnings reports that have underscored consumers' focus on prices. The latest example: Target, which is looking to stem its downward same-store sales trend not only by cutting prices on key items but also by emphasizing prices in marketing.

Meanwhile, Amazon and Walmart are locked in a battle over shipping deals, with Amazon reducing the minimum order required for non-Prime members to receive free shipping to $25, and Walmart offering discounts to customers willing to pick up in stores some online only items, with discounts based on how much Walmart saves on so-called last-mile delivery costs, which it says represent the lion's share of shipping cost to customers' homes.