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Real life is not enough: New Purple survey reveals how majority of people are online when out in bars and restaurants


November 21, 2016: Intelligent spaces company Purple surveyed over 1,000 people about how they use WiFi in bars and restaurants. The results show that, for the majority, using WiFi is an essential part of their social experiences. If it’s available, over half (55%) say they sometimes use it, while 4 in 10 always log in.

So why are we going online when we’re out for drinks and food? Purple’s survey reveals all:

Top 7 Reasons for Going Online at a Bar or Restaurant

  1. Fear of being out of the loop
    Purple’s survey indicates a need by many to keep tabs on what’s happening online, even when out socialising. Eight in ten (84%) use WiFi in bars and restaurants to browse the Internet, over half (58%) use it to keep in touch with friends, and 44% use it to stay in contact with family.
  2. Checking reviews & deals
    Just under a quarter of people login to WiFi while they are out so that they can check online reviews, and three out of ten search for food and drink promotions. Bars and restaurants that have an outstanding online reputation and enticing deals for the connected customer stand to benefit.
  3. Doing out-of-hours work
    Purple’s survey shows that WiFi is enabling bad work habits, with over a quarter (28%) using the WiFi in bars and restaurants to do work. Men age 18-34 are the worst offenders – with four out of ten logging on for work purposes while they are out. Step away from the smartphone guys!
  4. Checking in on social media
    Nearly two thirds (65%) ‘check in’ on social media when they arrive at a bar – this figure is highest among the millennials age group, rising to almost three quarters (72%).
  5. Instagramming food
    For many, #instafood comes before actual food – 57% admit they sometimes post a photo of an amazing meal at a restaurant on social media before they eat it, and 13% always succumb to that habit. Women aged 18-34 are the worst culprits – 7 out of 10 of them sometimes do this.
  6. Posting selfies
    Selfie posting at bars and restaurants is par for the course for six out of ten (61%) people! It’s especially popular among millennial girls, with three quarters of them (76%) posting selfies. The ‘bathroom selfie’ phenomenon is catching on – over a third (36%) say that they take them. Among millennial women, it’s even more popular – half of them snap pics of themselves in the loos! (Don’t expect a selfie to be truthful though, the camera CAN lie! Four out of ten people only post a selfie if they look good in it, and half (50%) say the pictures they share are staged to some degree).
  7. Capturing the moment
    Two thirds (65%) say that they share photos on social media while on a night out so that they can tag the people they are out with and enjoy the pictures together. For a quarter of respondents, the motive is less warm and fuzzy – they post pictures ‘to show off’!

Other Findings
Hooking up – we’re just not that into it
Despite the publicity around apps like Tinder, Purple’s survey reveals a surprising lack of interest in using WiFi to hook up with others for a date. Over three quarters (76%) of respondents say they don’t use dating apps and, among those who do, only 9% would like to make their relationship status known.

Smartphone etiquette is a work in progress
Nearly a third of respondents (29%) say their smartphone use while out at a restaurant or bar has been criticised. Among respondents aged 18-34 this figure is even higher – at 44%.

Some are taking steps to get the balance right by having a smartphone ban at the table at restaurants. Four out of ten (43%) say they sometimes enforce this rule – and 14% always do. One in ten (11%) think that the rule is a good idea and plan to give it a try.

We’re not saying ‘no’ to sharing location
The Purple survey revealed a willingness by bar and restaurant goers to share some information about themselves in return for rewards. For instance, six out of ten (58%) people would be willing to share their precise location with a venue if it meant they could receive personalised offers. People aged 35-44 are most open to this, with 63% in this age group willing to share location data.

Eat, drink and be online
As ‘staying connected’ becomes more ingrained in our social lives, expectations are maturing. Purple’s CEO Gavin Wheeldon says, “Our survey shows we are getting wise to the perks – searching for reviews and deals to maximise the enjoyment of our free time; being able to control our self-image by only posting nice selfies; and staying in touch with friends and family while we’re out. We’re also clued up on the pitfalls – and proactive about finding ways to stop smartphones spoiling our real life fun.

“It’s clear that being able to use guest WiFi in bars and restaurants is in demand and, in the case of the millennial generation, a vital part going out. For the most part, the effects are positive, creating a rich social experience that includes friends and family at home.”

For further information on the data, please contact Liberate Media:
Purple Press contacts:
Lloyd Gofton - - +44 (0) 7919 353 484
Justine Holman - - +44 (0) 7808 608416
Catherine Goddard – - +44 (0) 7720 635048


About Purple http://www.purple.AI
Purple is an intelligent spaces company. It evolved from Purple WiFi, the cloud-based marketing and analytics WiFi software company, to take the lead in real-time analytics and marketing for venues and businesses that want to engage with visitors and understand the use of physical spaces. Purple refers to this process as ‘Intelligent Spaces’ and can help brands to learn more about their location, customer base and help them to take action.

With 18 million users across 73 countries, Purple works with a range of brands and venues, including Indiana Pacers, Merlin Entertainment, Bloomin Brands, CenturyLink, Molson Coors, Legoland, Jaguar, United Wireless Arena, City of York and TUI.

It has a global agreement in place with Westcon Comstor, in addition to an active reseller base of over 960 in 60 countries. Purple employs over 90 full time staff and currently has offices in the UK, US, Chile, Madrid, Singapore and Melbourne with more offices planned.

Huge growth is being seen in all sectors, including hospitality, where people have time to spend online, retail, where footfall tracking is essential, healthcare, offering transparency around service and communication and entire cities moving towards the Internet of Things.

Purple divides its offering into two specific segments: small businesses and enterprise customers. Small businesses can continue to take advantage of Purple’s free guest WiFi product and purchase a cloud software license, which allows open access to marketing and analytics tools. Enterprise customers have the option of four product lines: WiFi, Location, and two new offerings: Fusion and Provision.

  • Purple WiFi is the well-established guest WiFi, analytics and marketing product.
  • Purple Location is a location based services product that works to actually pinpoint devices, enable heat mapping, provide zone flow information and enable journey management.
  • Purple Fusion is the latest offering, enabling connection to any type of data source, which can then be analysed and actioned. A variety of different data sources will be utilised to harvest information about any physical space.
  • Purple Provision is a commercial product more suitable for businesses, enabling a completely secure guest and staff WiFi environment. This uses automatic certificate provisioning instead of WPA or other encrypted WiFi SSID’s, which are intrinsically insecure for a BYOD environment.