By: Mikey Renan

I’m currently two weeks and three workouts into my somewhat disappointing New Years resolution. And while I may not have rock-hard abs quite yet, it’s still better than the way I treated my body over the holidays. This got me thinking, if my behavior is at all indicative of the general public, then the two weeks to end the year and the two weeks to start the year may just be the most diametrically opposed weeks of the year in terms of consumer habits.

So I dug in, and here’s what I found.
1) The obvious: Gym visitation goes way up to start the near year! When looking at Sense360 data I saw a nearly 25% increase in gym visits from the last two weeks of 2017 to the first two weeks of 2018. I was curious if our “Healthy and Wealthy” persona would show a greater spike in gym visitation but 25% was the magic number for them too. However, while everyone increased gym visitation by 25%, “Healthy and Wealthy” guests went to the gym 70% more than the general public to begin with. 
2) The Intuitive: Many folks have time off in December. And what else is there to do with your free time than eat? Apparently nothing…because food service visitation dipped across all verticals from the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018. The biggest dip came from Grocery shopping, followed by Family Dining and Frozen Desserts. The drop in grocery is driven by a significant spike in grocery shopping just before Christmas. 
3) The Ham: In terms of Fast Casual brands there are a few brands that saw significant upticks in market share from EOY to BOY and some that saw the inverse behavior. Notable declines came from Five Guys and Honeybaked Ham, with both brands losing about 50 basis points of their Fast Casual market share from end of December to the beginning of January. While the two more indulgent brands saw a decline, some brands that are often considered healthier showed up on the winners list. Notable increases came from Chipotle, Einstein Bros Bagels, and Jimmy John’s, with all three increasing share by 24-36 basis points. When I get back into the new years swing of things I like to start my workday with a Five Guys Burger, but apparently many people switch to bagels and coffee to start the new year. 
4) The Donald: Subway was by far the biggest gainer in Quick Service to start the year, increasing QSR market share by 50 basis points. McDonald’s – on the other hand – saw the largest decline in January. They lost 60 basis points to start the year. It is rare these days to see McDonald’s on the naughty list of any QSR metrics, so it was surprising to see a decline for the golden arches to start the year. All that said, last year we saw a similar start to the year for McDonald’s, followed by nearly 12 months of consistent market-share increase. So this is very likely a seasonal trend, but one worth keeping an eye on none-the-less. 
5) Friends vs. Family: Likely a result of the shift from family bonding time in December, to workplace Happy Hours in January, Cracker Barrel saw the largest decline in market share among FSRs (37 bps) to start the year, while Chili’s saw the largest increase (36 bps). And it’s worth noting that Applebee’s saw the second largest increase in market share among FSR (30 bps), likely driven by their endless riblets and tenders. 
That’s all I’ve got. Now I’m going to head over to Applebee’s for endless riblets….and then I swear I’ll hit the gym. #NewYearNewMe