Local Restaurants, Bars and Clubs Shift More Dollars to Digital

Consumers want information about the local businesses operating in their communities. These businesses are likely advertising in both traditional and digital channels. But the latest research shows that consumers exhibit ‘different pattern of information seeking’ when they are checking out  some kinds of local businesses — a behavioral pattern that has broad implications for media mix.

Researchers at Pew Internet wondered if entertainment-​related businesses such as restaurants, bars and night clubs attract a unique audience that might find out about them in ways that vary from searching for other types of businesses such as dry cleaners. It turns out the researchers were onto something. The demographic characteristics of consumers who seek information on local restaurants, bars and clubs are as follows:

  • Woman 59%
  • Ages 18–29 65%
  • College grads 63%

To find information, over half of these consumers turn to the Internet. The top online source is search engines, 38%. Consumers using this resource tend to be between the ages of 18–39 and do not pay for local news content. Another 17% of consumers like websites, especially topical sites. This resource is favored by consumers who have lived in the community less than 5 years and who get their local news on their mobile devices.

The print newspaper is a resource for 26% of consumers. Those who are over age 40, pay for local content and have lived in their communities longer than 5 years are more likely to use this media format for information on restaurants. For older consumers, over age 65, local TV is tops. About 7% of people overall prefer TV as an information source for local eateries and entertainment establishments while another 3% like local radio.

Consumers who seek information on local establishments outside of the restaurant category, show slightly different demographic characteristics:

  • Women 61%
  • Ages 30–65 63%
  • College grads 72%

This group is not quite as likely to search online for non-​restaurant business information. Only 47% do so, with 36% saying search engines are key and 16% using topical websites. In addition, print newspapers are still a key resource with 29% of consumers overall turning the pages of their local publications in search of information about shoe stores or barbershops.  Local TV attracts another 7%, especially those over age 65. And local radio is a top choice for another 5% of consumers.

The bottom line from this study is that restaurants and entertainment establishments tend to attract a younger group of patrons. This group prefers new forms of media which means that marketers should be spending a significant part of their ad budgets on these formats. However, other demographic groups also patronize these businesses and for now, these consumers are looking at newspaper, radio and TV to learn about what’s new in their local market.

[Source: Lee, Rainie et al. Where people get information. PewResearchCenter. 14 December 2011. Web. 2 Feb. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.