Consumers Look to Direct Mail for Restaurant Deals

Direct mail beat mobile coupons

TV spots and print coupons are commonplace in the restaurant industry, and consumers are accustomed to—and even prefer—those types of promotions.

In a January 2018 survey by Valassis, the top two channels where US internet users looked for dining offers or new items were mail (42%) and TV (27%). Millennials were the only generation that regularly sought out information via digital channels—38% used mobile and 37% desktops/laptops.

But when asked which channel they preferred, all generations cited mail, with an overall average of 55%.

Parents and millennials—two groups that definitely overlap—were most influenced by mobile. When deciding where to eat, 40% of millennials and 39% of parents said they turn to mobile devices. Additionally, 38% of millennials said mobile promos would entice them to visit a restaurant, while 35% of parents said the same.

Valassis, which offers a direct mail solution, found a strong preference and influence potential for offline advertising. That may be true, but mobile usage while making dining decisions is more common than this study implies.

In a November 2017 Market Force Information survey, 45% of all US internet users had downloaded a restaurant mobile app, up from 41% in 2016. There wasn’t a radical difference among the four age groups younger than 55: Only 1 percentage point separated those ages 45 to 54 (47%) from those 18 to 24 (48%).

Granted, downloads don’t equal usage or influence. But when looking at the activities performed on these restaurant apps, half of respondents said they used apps to find discounts or special promotions, and 30% to compare and make decisions on where to go.

Most US internet users utilize a mix of paper and digital coupons, according to a January 2018 Inmar survey. Some 55% reported using both versions, while 32% stuck to paper and 12% used digital promos exclusively.