Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cell Me The Snacks

Today’s post is the first of my annual summer series under the umbrella theme of What’s Next USA? I will start with M-Commerce – Cell Me The Snacks! Other blogs that will follow:

- Pets USA Revisited
- Anticipation
- Integrated Generosity
- Senior Boomers
- Flip Flops

Read On:
I debuted my new stump speech titled Millennial Marketing last month in Boston. Later that evening, I went into Cambridge to treat myself to dinner at Legal Sea Foods. When I looked around the restaurant, I observed several teenagers with their parents, disengaged, busy texting away with their flying fingers. They only validated what I had presented earlier in the day; M-Commerce is ready to explode to the next level.

As a marketing geek, I always enjoy reviewing/evaluating data. Detailed below are some key highlights from my speech that corroborate how M-Commerce is ready to positively impact the foodservice industry:

· According to Nielsen, 13 to 17 year olds now text on average 2,899 times per month. If my math is correct, that equates to 93.5 text messages a day. Given that an average teenager sleeps 8.3 hours per day, do the text math per hour. Earlier in the year, the Kaiser Family Foundation report on media usage for 8 to 18 year olds revealed 118 text messages per day for this group. More importantly, only 14% had parental controls for the amount of time they could spend texting. Apparently there were no parental controls at Legal Sea Foods last month.

· The same Kaiser Family Foundation report revealed that this group packs 10.45 hours of media usage into 7-1/2 hours per day. Imagine their multi-tasking skills in five years time.

· One of my leading sources eMarketer predicts that 49.4% of mobile users will be accessing the Internet from their smartphones by 2013. In the past six months they indicated 40% of smartphone users purchased something besides an application via their units. Age was not factored into these numbers. Personally I think these numbers are light, given that Juniper reported that there were 2.4 billion applications in 2009 and this figure will jump to 36 billion by 2014.

· A study conducted by one of the major contract feeders in America indicated that 35% of the meals eaten by Millennials were snacks; they eat on average 4.3 times a day.

What is the implication for the restaurant industry? A blurring of dayparts – operators need to begin planning their current menus beyond breakfast, lunch and dinner. They will need to develop convenient (grab & go), portion control (400 calories or less) snack items to address the grazing eating habits of our mobile/wired, 24/7 Millennials. M-Commerce will be a great way to drive traffic via SMS promotions, videos, loyalty programs, etc. Cell Me The Snacks!


  1. Jimmy,

    A small sample - one - suggests that at least one college is already appealing to the millennials.

    I had the opportunity to be in Northeastern's student center last week, and was amazed at the food offerings, especially in a grab and go store. Not only was one whole wall devoted to fluids, at 5:30 PM there was a large case filled with sushi...all in addition to the usual sandwiches, cookies, etc.

    Combine this with the more upscale meals offered by Whole Foods and other supermarkets and there is a revolution already taking place, without linking to mobile devices.


  2. Great take on an incredibly important, ever-changing and constantly emerging market opportunity. The numbers make my head hurt a little, but there's definitely gain in that pain!

  3. Thanks so much for this - it's a serious conversation that needs to be had! There was an article on the Social Media Smart Brief about sales growth in Domino's UK units because of social media


  4. Interesting data and well supported with some great facts. Curious about the stats on which type of restaurants and what income level the clientele. This would help define a target group of eatery's for which to promote a project to. Personally, I think the streaming of a video montage of the place/menu/features via a gps triggered automatic email would be my first pitch.

  5. Great stats - it will only get busier so the issue is going to be what value you as a restauranteur can bring relative to the next guy. If its smart value added, day part sensitive, non spam that builds loyalty - excellent BUT I have already seen a land grab of discounted offers simply coupons delivered by another mechanism. Couponing via paper generally should be banished to the graveyard of bad ideas - if it is simply copied to the cell phone the exposure really ramps up.

    But the numbers say 'opportunity' all over them

    BTW - like the 'cell me the snacks' - might use this one myself!

  6. We have been seeing both of these trends. What you have done is put them together and suggest that there is a causal relationship not just correlation. I believe that you are correct. Eating is just another task in this multitasking world. This has implications not just for the blurring of the dayparts, but needs to impact restaurant design. The computer screens, that it is obvious are going to be on every table for ordering and menu information need to be able to access the internet. Customers need to be able to connect to these systems either wired or wireless. All of this needs to tie into social networks. Foodservice needs to rethink everything about how we go to market. The many changes in the next 10 years are going to be a challenge and a lot of fun.

  7. Everyone:

    Thank you for your comments, all great thoughts. The M-Commerce Revolution is heating up.