Starbucks Audience Segments – And Why Your Brand Should Be Targeting Them

Digital advertisers are in a constant search for new, relevant audiences to which they can deploy campaigns and increase their return on ad spend (ROAS). While programmatic advertisers have a good sense of the demographics and characteristics of people they want to target given their product or service, many of these advertisers may not know how to access those audiences.

Many advertising platforms offer their own audiences to target campaigns, however programmatic advertisers can be more surgical in their approach by targeting specialized segments that are relevant to their campaign and have certain characteristics. Oftentimes, the most relevant audience demographics can be found in segments that are peripherally related to a campaign or product, but not directly named.

One of the best examples of this can be shown by analyzing the demographics of Starbucks Coffee drinkers – one of the largest consumer segments available in BDEX’s taxonomy. By targeting segments of Starbucks drinkers for digital campaigns, programmatic advertisers can not only target campaigns for similar food and drink brands, but also for a host of other interests and buying tendencies.

Who are Starbucks drinkers?

To understand the power of leveraging Starbucks Coffee audience segments to target advertisements, we must first understand Starbucks as a brand, its ubiquity in the United States and around the world, as well as it’s value proposition it uses to engage customers.

Starbucks is nearly unparalleled as a brand in terms of mass adoption in the United States. There are 15,812 total stores in the US in 2022, or about 315 stores per state on average. 32% of U.S. adults purchase food or beverages from Starbucks cafes with some degree of regularity according to Civic Science. Patrons of Starbucks Coffee cut across a variety of age groups, interests, and geographies, but their core customers are described as young, urban, and affluent – typically college educated with an average age of 42, and an average income of about $90,000 according to The Motley Fool

What is perhaps surprising given the brand’s historical focus on coffee, is that more than a third of people who purchase items from Starbucks locations with some regularity say they rarely or never drink coffee, or just drink it on occasion. This is especially true in younger audiences, suggesting that coffee brands who focus on non-caffeinated drinks, food and alternative options are bringing non-coffee drinkers in the door in droves. 

What other products do Starbucks drinkers enjoy?

Stabucks’ mass adoption and large quantities of customers is helpful, but also nonspecific. So now let’s drill down into some of the aforementioned demographics to identify similar products or services that Starbucks drinkers may also be interested in. By painting a portrait of the typical Starbucks drinker, we begin to realize which other factors and drivers made these customers migrate toward this brand.

  • Millennials – born between 1981 and 1996 represent about half of Starbucks’ customers (currently between the ages of 25 and 40). Brands aiming to target millennials can identify large chunks of an appropriate audience through Starbucks drinkers.
  • Tech-savvy – Going hand-in-hand with the Millennial demographic that grew up in the dot com era, tech savviness is another common denominator of Starbucks drinkers. More than 31.2 million people in the US regularly use the Starbucks mobile payments app, making it the second most-used mobile payment app for POS transactions. Brands aiming to target customers who use mobile apps and to-go services can benefit from these audiences.
  • Urban areas and upscale neighborhoods – Starbucks customers on average live in affluent urban areas, and place an increasing emphasis on to-go orders and/or drive-thru options for quick service, suggesting that quick service restaurants (QSRs) particularly in urban areas can benefit from targeting and analyzing these audiences.
  • Environmentally Conscious – According to brand demographic research, regular Starbucks customers are more than twice as likely to own an electric vehicle as non-Starbucks customers, and more than one-third of these customers intend to purchase an EV in the future. Additionally, Starbucks made waves in 2018 when it announced that it would eliminate single-use plastic straws globally by 2020, tipping its hat to the eco-friendly demographic. Therefore, brands selling environmentally-oriented products may strike a cord with Starbucks audiences.

Available Starbucks Segments in BDEX’s Taxonomy

By searching keywords such as “Starbucks” and “Coffee” as a starting point in the BDEX taxonomy, advertisers can view a host of Starbucks segments. As seen below, there are a number of coffee brand segments available, but Starbucks drinkers are the largest of these target lists.

We can also see more detailed Starbucks drinker segments available. In the graphic below, you’ll notice that audience segments are broken out by drink of preference, Starbucks being the most visited fast food option in the last 30 days, as well as lists identified by market research to be Starbucks drinkers (e.g. SYMPHONY IRI – STARBUCKS COFFEE BUYERS).

Other related segments that also contain Starbucks drinkers include regular customers of coffee shops, buyers of various coffee makers brands, as well as other fast food brand segments as shown below. Advertisers can conduct similar demographic research on these fast food brands to identify the best-fit audiences for their campaign.

Advertisers can view the entire list of available audiences and buy individual segments to increase their ROAS on their next campaign in BDEX’s taxonomy here.