Fast Food by Smartphone

Last week, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan called for a ban on junk food advertising on the transport network in a move to tackle childhood obesity. The Advertising Association responded by saying that international experience and independent research have shown an advertising ban would have little impact on the wider societal issues that drive obesity.

Whatever the rights and wrongs one thing is for sure: the growth of online food delivery services in recent years has meant it has never been easier to have all kinds of hot food delivered direct to your door. From pure delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat to high street quick-service restaurants and delivery outlets like Burger King and Domino’s, there is now a whole range of mobile apps to serve up whatever your taste buds desire.  With the World Cup around the corner it’s likely to be a busy time for the services offering convenience food so this month UKOM looks at usage of smartphone apps within the restaurant and food delivery* sector and asks, “How much do UK smartphone users love the convenience of convenience when it comes to Pizza, Chicken, Burgers and the rest?”

 The top restaurant and fast food smartphone apps, as listed above in March 2018, had an overall reach of 6.2 million adults.  In percentage terms, 20% of all adults who used a smartphone to go online visited one of these apps visited one of these apps with 6% visiting two or more.  To put it in perspective that’s more than twice the number who visit gambling apps on a smartphone each month (2.8m or 9%), almost double the number who use dating apps (3.2m or 10%) and more than 3 times the those who use their smartphone to play the national lottery (1.9m or 6%). 

In terms of demographics, 18-24s were most likely to visit one of the food apps listed with 27% using at least one and 9% visiting more than one. Reach of these apps declines steadily with increasing age from over a quarter of 18-24s to only 11% of 55+. In line with their overall internet use, Females were more likely to use restaurant and food convenience smartphone apps than males (21% v 18%).

In addition to differences in overall use, there were also some differences at the brand level. Just Eat had the biggest reach among all age groups and genders. However, among males, KFC and Burger King were ranked much higher at no.3 and no.6 than for females where they were only the 6th and 9th most visited. For females, Deliveroo and Uber Eats were the 3rd and 4th biggest compared to only 8th and 9th for males.  The Toby Carvery & Wetherspoons smartphone apps were more popular with older audiences (ranked no.2 and no.3), the latter enabling people to order their food without leaving their table.

It remains to be seen whether the Sadiq Khan’s recommendations come into force, and to what effect, but looking at usage of smartphone apps among adults, it’s clear that the UK’s penchant for convenience food is not limited to children and shows no sign of abating. 


*Top Restaurant & Food Delivery brands identified by combining ‘Top Retail – Food’ and ‘Lifestyle – Food’ Mobile App categories in Comscore and excluding the major supermarkets and coffee chains.

Any reach percentages are based on those 18+ who used the internet via a smartphone in March 2018.

All data in this report is based on March 2018 data and is among UK adults.

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