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Food & Drink Apps: Using Industry Benchmark Data to Understand Changes in Mobile Customer Sentiment

Madeleine Wilson  //  April 9, 2020  //  4 min read

Mobile apps in the Food and Drink category have experienced radical change these last few weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has more and more people using app-based food delivery services, and QSRs are seeing an influx of mobile payments at their drive-throughs with the closure of dine-in establishments. For example, according to data compiled by Foursquare, QSR foot traffic increased 11 percent from mid-February to mid-March in the United States.

See actionable strategies for engaging with customers during this difficult time here.

So, what can these brands do to capture, analyze, and act on these changing customer behaviors? One of the most critical pieces to this puzzle is first understanding how your app compares to others in this industry and then tracking the changes you’re seeing against these benchmarks.

Above all, benchmarks can help you understand why. Why is sentiment changing? Why are more people leaving reviews? Why is your app rating decreasing? When you have solid benchmarks to measure against, they can help you make sense of your own data and answer these questions.

Download the 2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

We’re thankful that our annual Mobile App Engagement Report was published right around the time that everything started to really shift in the U.S. because it helps people have a frame of reference to understand changes they’re seeing in their own metrics. The report is meant to serve as a yardstick for companies seeking to understand how their customer feedback and engagement metrics stack up against the market.

This is our fifth consecutive year conducting this research. Data from our 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 reports is included to show shifts in brand focus and engagement over time. See the full 2020 report for more information on general benchmarks and other category-specific data.

In order to measure emotion – a key metric in these current times – product managers and mobile marketers in the Food and Drink category must have a baseline understanding of how their current performance stacks up with the marketplace. Here are some of those key benchmarks.

Mobile Customer Sentiment

The average Food and Drink app’s New or Repeat Fans (iOS 56%, Android 61%) fall slightly below the general average (iOS 58%, Android 65%); New or Repeat Risks (iOS 34%, Android 34%) are higher than the general average (iOS 32%, Android 28%); Fans Shifted to Risks (iOS 5%, Android 2%) are roughly the general average (iOS 5%, Android 3%); and Risks Shifted to Fans meet the general average (both show iOS 5%, Android 3%).

The data tells us there is more at stake for Food and Drink apps when it comes to encouraging customer love and brand loyalty. The Food and Drink category is extremely competitive and dynamic in a way other app categories are not – especially right now. There’s always another delivery app or loyalty program trying to lure customers away, especially for QSR brands.

Mobile Retention and Loyalty

Looking at retention, Food and Drink apps ended the year with an average of 37% of new consumers retained, which is lower than the general average of 43%. Again, we believe the lower retention numbers have to do with fierce competition within the category and how to keep customers engaged. Loyalty programs provide QSR apps an effective and efficient tool to incentivize customers to place repeat orders, but many offers are flash deals like $1 food and drinks to encourage customers to buy more right away. These deals may work in the short-term, but they aren’t great for retaining customers over time.

App Ratings and Reviews

78% of the average iOS Food and Drink app’s ratings were five-stars, and 7% were one-star. Android apps in the same category showed 56% of their ratings as five-stars, and 23% of their ratings as one-star. Food and Drink apps tend to be more transactional than apps in other categories. Consumers notice small in-app changes right away, where they might not see them otherwise.

iOS apps in the Food and Drink category saw an average of 1,841 reviews, where Android apps saw an average of 10,413. Below are the averages for Food and Drink app interaction and response rates, surveys, and in-app messages.

Key Strategies for Food & Drink Apps

  1. Invest in improving loyalty programs
  2. Continue to innovate and reimagine the mobile ordering ecosystem
  3. Offer mobile-only coupons, promos, and deals

So how does your app compare to these benchmarks? And how do your “new normal” metrics compare to these industry standards from 2019?

Schedule a demo of Apptentive to see how our customer experience software can easily help boost your engagement metrics, increase mobile engagement, and improve customer sentiment.

About Madeleine Wilson

Madeleine Wilson is the Content Marketing Manager for Apptentive. No stranger to B2B tech, Madeleine enjoys translating complex concepts into easy-to-digest pieces of content.
View all posts by Madeleine Wilson >

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