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Survey: McD’s attracting Starbucks customers


New York City A survey of about 2,500 coffee-drinking consumers by Morgan Stanley & Co. found that nearly half of Starbucks heavy users said they also buy coffee at McDonald’s at least once per week.

About 56% of Starbucks heavy users said they buy coffee from McDonald’s regularly, up from 51% who gave the same response in a similar survey last August.

The survey was conducted about three weeks after McDonald’s May launch of national advertising promoting its McCafe offerings, which are available in about 11,000 of the chain’s 14,000 locations nationwide.

For McDonald’s, the report said, the addition of gourmet coffee will likely build the average check, benefit margins, and, over time, build traffic. The report noted, however, that it was too early to tell if overall visits to the quick-service chain were increasing as a result of the coffee menu additions.

“For Starbucks, defending its turf means there is more at stake,” the report concluded.

The good news for Starbucks is that only 20% of its customers said they are now going to their favorite coffeehouse less often, down from 28% in the survey last August, the report said.

Those who are visiting Starbucks less frequently, however, are citing economic reasons. About 31% said they are seeking out cheaper alternatives, while others said they were ordering smaller or less expensive items.

About 47% of Starbucks heavy users said they buy McDonald’s coffee at least once per month, while 42% of McDonald’s customers said they go to Starbucks at least once per month.

Still, the survey found that, among all consumers, McDonald’s leads in terms of value and convenience, but Starbucks wins in terms of taste and as “the favorite place” to buy coffee, the report said.

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