There's One Group Of People Driving Breakfast Sales

The demographic purchasing the most return-to-office breakfasts might surprise you.

Now that Americans are slowly returning to the office with greater frequency due to increasing corporate mandates, it's only natural that grab-and-go breakfast sales are rising, too—but not everyone is throwing down. As tempting as an egg sandwich from the cafe might sound on my commute into the office, I usually just skip breakfast altogether, or eat the oatmeal packets squirreled away in my desk. In fact, one very particular group of people is driving the growth of restaurant breakfast sales, and they're doing so at a much higher rate than any other demographic.

Male consumers are buying the most breakfast

Consumer behavior research company Circana recently released new insights on the rise of retail and restaurant breakfast sales. Morning meal visits have gone up by 4% over the past 12 months, with most activity occurring Tuesday through Thursday, presumably the days on which people commute to the office most often.


The key demographic is older male consumers ages 45 to 54, who typically have higher incomes ($100k and up), and they account for almost 60% of breakfast sales despite only being 20% of the U.S. shopping public. This core group, Circana says, spends five times as much on breakfast as the average consumer.

And they have some clear preferences, too: This group likes convenient, on-the-go food and caffeinated drinks, stuff like coffee, pastries, doughnuts, and other baked goods. Suddenly the new CosMc's menu is starting to make a lot of sense.

Gen Z is the least likely to buy breakfast

On the other end of the spectrum, the consumer demographic least likely to buy breakfast is the age group between 18 and 24 years old, though their visits have at least increased since last year. (One possible reason for their lack of spending is that they're newer to the workforce and have significantly less money.)


And the younger consumers' spending habits are different, too. While the older group heads to gourmet tea and coffee chains, younger ones go to cheaper venues like fast food joints to get their preferred morning treats, which often involve both blended and specialty iced drinks.

As more employees are made to return to the workplace, those breakfast numbers are sure to rise, and it's a pattern that fast food chains and convenience stores are tracking closely, because there are serious bucks tucked away in those hours. If that means we get cool new limited-time-only egg sandwiches and more grab-and-go stuff from the corner store, then I might just have to stop by once I step off that morning train.