Study: Boomers Run On Dunkin', Starbucks, Fast Food


Boomers are the key drivers of QSR sales, according to a recent Affinity study.

The company’s most recent report was compiled from data collected from January 2021 through January 2024 utilizing Affinity Solutions’ Consumer Purchase Insights, which are based on actual credit card, debit card and transaction data.

Boomers were the highest spenders at QSRs such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-a. Gen X is second and only spends slightly more (1.1%) than millennials at these chains.

The study also found that boomers, and in particular 2.1% more women than men, were the top spenders at national coffee chains such as Dunkin’ and Starbucks.

Overall QSR category spending was found to be highest among boomers, followed by Gen X and millennials. Female boomers and Gen X-ers spent more than boomer and Gen X men, while millennial men spent slightly higher than millennial women at fast food chains.



“Traditional fast-food chains are favored by Boomers, while Millennials prefer fast casual chains,” Affinity’s CEO Jonathan Silver told Marketing Daily. “Millennials have grown up in a world where fast food restaurants were seen as ‘unhealthy,’ which could cause them to seek out fast casual chains that promote themselves as being ‘healthier.’ …

“Brands in the QSR category should consider different messaging when looking to reach beyond their target audiences, such as playing into nostalgia for boomers or touting their convenience and health benefits when reaching millennials.” 

And finally, millennials and boomers have something in common; they both spend more at fast casual chains such as Chipotle, Moe’s and Cava than Gen X. Overall, men spend more at fast casual chains than women, yet Gen X and boomer women, however, spend more than Gen X and boomer men at these chains. 

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