The year 2017 was quite an exciting year for the pizza industry. The pizza industry earned about $134 billion worldwide, with $45.1 billion accounted for in the U.S. pizza market.
And while the number of pizzerias went down, their average unit sales and overall sales skyrocketed in 2017.
Hungry Howie’s® earned a spot in the top 50 pizza chains by PMQ Magazine. We landed number 12 by sales, number 7 by units, and number 37 by average sales per unit. And, as we walk into 2018, we're hopeful those numbers will continue to improve.
Let’s take a close look back at the pizza industry in 2017.
Chain vs. Independent of the Numbers
Independent pizzerias, meaning those with less than ten units, experienced new unit growth in 2017. They accounted for 2,868 new pizzerias that opened this past year, which is more than the 2,124 opened by pizza chains.
However, everything that goes up must come down. While new unit growth may be on the rise, independent pizzerias closed about 4,121 stores in 2017. Pizza chains only closed 1,170 units, meaning chain stores gained roughly 954 locations, while the independent pizzerias lost nearly 1,253.
In a nutshell, the pizza industry lost 299 pizza stores in 2017.
The Consumer-Based Industry
The consumer has been leading the pack for a while now, but 2017 was definitely the year of consumers. In fact, consumer-based stocks gained over 50% in 2017. Most consumer-driven companies seemed to have finished the year with great numbers. Those businesses who focused on consumer needs, meaning they made sure their online ordering systems were user-friendly and that they managed to meet customer's expectations had a more lucrative 2017 overall.
Pizza by the Numbers
The pizza segment still has about 15% of the market share in the food industry. The U.S. still holds 32.6% of the pizza industry, with a 7.39% increase in comparison to 2015. In fact, there’s no doubt the U.S. consumer loves pizza:
- 252 million pounds of pepperoni consumed from pizza
- 350 slices of pizza eaten each second
- 3 billion pizzas sold
- 93% of Americans eat at least one slice of pizza per month
The Menu Revolution
However, not everything remained the same for pizza in 2017. Menus started to evolve, changing as consumers demanded more and more toppings and options.
2017 was the year of charcoal pizzas, unicorn pizza slices, cauliflower pizza crusts, and so on. With the rise of build-your-own pizza locations, chains had to update their menus to reach broader audiences and give customers what they wanted.
Hungry Howie’s® alone introduced some limited-time new menu offerings such as Jalapeno Ranch Flavored Crust®, Spicy Sesame Flavored Crust®, and Sea Salt Flavored Crust®.
The Importance of Pizza Ordering Online
The days of phoning in a pizza order might be going away. While all businesses still offer this option, online ordering is what’s taking over. Even though online ordering is not a new thing, consumers are feeling more confident making online orders today. Plus, many businesses started offering their own mobile apps, like the Hungry Howie’s® app, which makes online ordering that much easier.
At least 60% of Internet users have ordered food online within the past year. Online orders can account for up to 15% of added sales. Having a robust online presence is all about convenience, accessibility, and facilitating the information to your customers.
In fact, the average online pizza order is at least 18% higher than those orders made over the phone.
The Race for Speed
However, with fast and convenient ordering online, comes an expectation for faster delivery times. Even though 2017 saw a rise for 3rd-party delivery companies, 71% of users still prefer to get delivery directly from the restaurant. This means, business owners still have to find a way to deliver their pizza fast and hot.
Here comes the revolution with drones, self-driving cars, and robots that might revolutionize the way we see pizza delivery in 2018.
The Getting Closer Environment
With social media and a stronger online presence comes that feeling of entitlement from the customers. Believe it or not, there’re still businesses out there without a Facebook or Twitter Account. And, even though an online business presence is not the only thing people based their decisions on, they’re still highly influential.
- Only 9% of consumer do NOT read online reviews
- 68% of users still learn about new restaurants by word of mouth
- 47% of consumers learn about new pizza chains via Facebook
- 25% of consumers learn about new pizza shops via Google
However, beyond how they find out about a new restaurant, what’s more interesting is how they can change their perception of a restaurant based on reviews.
- 58% of users look at overall star ratings when judging reviews
- 59% look at least at two or three review sites before deciding
Even more importantly for pizzeria business owners, at least 7 out of 10 consumers say they will leave a review if ever asked.
The Trends from 2017 to 2018
Looking into 2017 can give you an excellent starting point for 2018. While trends will evolve with time and who knows what the next rainbow pizza trend will be, there are some trends from 2017 that will undoubtedly continue into 2018 as they gain momentum and strength.
The Healthy Consumer
Consumers are becoming more health-conscious looking for healthier alternatives without sacrificing their love for pizza. Those pizza chains offering more robust salad options, healthier toppings, low-fat cheeses, and so on, will lead the pack in 2018.
The Environmentally Conscious
The millennial population is very careful about the environment. They are looking for establishments that are sharing their same values. Those businesses that give back to the community and the environment will be more attractive to this section of the consumer pool.
The Tech Revolution
Technology continues to evolve, and the pizza industry is taking advantage of this. The goal is to set up a user-friendly online and mobile environment that enables the consumer to freely order pizza and track its every step. Plus, the technology revolution is also reaching other areas of pizza delivery with drones or robotic dishwashers.
2017 was quite the year for the pizza industry, but we can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us.