Millennials, Lattes, and Mobile Payments

The question here is why do mobile payment system demonstration videos frequently show Millennials buying a latte with a mobile payment? Is it that  more Millennials own smart phones than other generational groups and are they always going around buying lattes?

I’ve been intrigued by mobile payment systems.

As a Boomer, I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of loading all my payment vehicles on my smart phone and depending on it to work at key purchase moments. Perhaps that’s why all the mobile payment system demonstration videos I’ve seen entail a Millennial. I’m fine with that. But it seems like the video always shows them buying a latte.  It’s never an aging Boomer paying for a round of golf. It’s never a parent paying school activity fees. Nobody is seen paying the person who just cut their hair. It’s a twenty-something buying a latte.

First I thought: “Smart phones and their data plans are expensive. Can Millennials really afford them as much or more than older (and likely more affluent) consumers?”

And, in fact, they can (or do). A survey we conducted last year for an NPD foodservice market research report on the use of technology by restaurant customers documented higher incidence of smart phone use among Millennials than any other age cohort.

And then I thought: “Do they like lattes so much? Is it that Millennials are always going around buying coffees?

Our consumer foodservice market research, CREST, actually knows that.  And the fact is that they don’t buy coffees as much as any other age group.

Coffee is served in about 14% of all visits to restaurants to all consumers. Millennials just buy coffee 9% of the time. In every daypart they have a lower incidence of coffee than other cohorts. Interestingly to any parent of a Millennial, breakfast accounts for a smaller share of their coffee drinking than it does for any other cohort. Coffee is a bit more of a snack drink for them that they, apparently, buy with a mobile pay system.



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