The modern pizza was created in Naples, Italy, but authentic pizzerias, pizza stands, and pizza take-out chains can now be found in any major city around the world.
The global pizza industry is booming: it’s worth an impressive 145-billion-dollars, with demand for pizza increasing all over the world, but especially in Latin America and China.
The Industry by revenue
On any given day, 13% of the US population consumes pizza, and pizza restaurants across the US generated around 46.34 billion dollars in sales in 2019 - the highest number recorded in recent years.
Chain restaurants are still the most popular: with big names such as Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's contributing to the 27.81 billion U.S. dollars generated by pizza chains, compared to 18.53 billion U.S. dollars from independent restaurants.
Restaurant styles and growth
Across the U.S., pizza lovers enjoy both chains and independent artisan pizzerias.
Pizza chains account for 59% of U.S. sales, whereas independent restaurants aren’t too far behind with 41%. Interestingly, independent pizzerias saw a net gain in store openings over the past year, while chain pizzerias saw a marginal net loss.
However, while American chains may have lost out domestically, globally they continue to grow, with Papa John’s opening 146 global units from the 3rd quarter of 2017 to 2018 and Domino’s adding 232 global units during this time.
Outside of the U.S, Domino's has its strongest presence in Australia and India, but in recent years it has branched out to Europe, opening stores in Scandinavia and Italy.
Papa John’s has also recently expanded to Central Asia and Eastern Europe, opening stores in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Poland.
According to PMQ, pizzerias are thriving around the globe, with a five-year forecasted growth rate of 10.7%.
According to PMQ China, Asia especially is set to see a boom in new restaurants, with China opening 1,000 new Pizza Hut units throughout the country in 2019, and Papa John’s and Domino’s also opening 50 new units each.
In Japan, Sazeriya is a key player, and in South Korea Mr. Pizza, while in Russia Dodo Pizza continues to open hundreds of new restaurants.
The increasing awareness around healthy eating has also seen an increase in Fast-Casual restaurants such as Mod Pizza, which saw huge growth between 2008 and 2015, with customers seeking healthy alternatives to fast food that still offer speed and convenience.
While pizza remains a firm favorite in the US and across the world, how we consume pizza is changing. The driving force behind all pizzerias, whether they’re chains or independent, is keeping up with technological advances in the industry, with more of us ordering pizza from our smartphones or online.
For U.S. pizza chains, online ordering makes up the majority of sales. Domino’s began offering online ordering back in 2008, and its popularity has increased steadily with the majority of consumers preferring the convenience of ordering over the internet rather than picking up a phone.
However, ordering via smartphones has proved to be even more convenient than over the internet, and this is another popular ordering method of today’s customers, with Domino’s reporting that 50% of its digital sales come from mobile orders.
Consumers increasingly want to order pizza in a way that is fast, convenient, and simple, and mobile apps or online ordering offer this. However, there is a third way in which customers are ordering pizza, and that is through third-party delivery.
Third-party delivery services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats offer their own online and mobile ordering systems, and this means that even independent pizzerias can reap the benefits.
The drawback with this ordering method is of course the extra delivery fee and occasionally some issues with timing and unreliability, causing some independent businesses to stick to their own delivery or pick-up methods.
Consumer Trends: U.S.
Fresh, healthy and local
In the U.S. there has been an increased focus on healthy alternatives to “take-out” style pizza.
The focus on health has seen an increasing demand for fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, with many pizzerias advertising their ingredients to prove their authenticity. More pizzerias are returning to authentic notions of “real” Italian pizza made with quality ingredients. Breakfast Pizza
Recent trends across the U.S. also suggest that pizza is no longer seen as a dinner option alone. The breakfast pizza is a fast-growing trend, with the convenience store 7-Eleven reporting that their breakfast pizza was their second best-selling pizza in 2018.
Regional and international pizza
Another trend in the U.S. is “regional” pizzas that reflect a certain city, state, or region, with examples including Detroit-style and Midwest style.
Pizza toppings have also become more adventurous, branching out to include unique flavors or different levels of spice to put an international twist on the Italian classic.
Dietary restrictions and allergies
With as many as 6.5 million self-identifying vegans in the U.S, pizzerias are broadening options to accommodate those who don’t eat meat or dairy. Rockstar Pizzas, owned by Ron Mathews, say that Keto pizzas have become increasingly popular in recent years.
About 7% of U.S. children suffer from food allergies, and many pizzerias, chains, and independent restaurants are now offering alternatives for those with allergies, with many now featuring gluten-free crusts on their menus.
Youth and Pizza
While all ages are enjoying pizza, it's the younger generations that drive the industry, particularly with the increasing role of technology in ordering pizza.
Young people continue to demand quick, convenient, and simple ways of ordering, and young consumers are also big fans of loyalty programs, with 42% of those surveyed in PMQ’s Pizza Industry Census saying they subscribe to loyalty programs to direct their purchasing.
Consumer Trends: International
Italians can be very particular about what should and shouldn’t go on a pizza, but with pizza becoming popular all over the world, pizzerias are adapting their pizza toppings to suit local palates.
These include vegetarian options in India, bulgogi and kimchi toppings in Korea, and seafood and deemphasize cheese toppings in China.
Fast pizza in Russia
According to PMQ sources in Russia, Par-baked crusts are favored over fresh or frozen dough as they can be easily transported across long distances and have a long shelf life.
The pizza market in Russia is based on a need for consistency and speed that is driven by high-volume demand. Pinsa par-baked crusts are also popular in Russia for their convenience but also their health benefits.
Gourmet pizza in Sweden
Unlike Russia, Sweden sees pizza as more than just fast food, with gourmet-style pizza options increasingly appearing in upscale restaurants, resorts, airports, and pubs.
There has also been an increase in pizza competitions and education events in the country, which reflects the “artisan” perception of pizza here.
Pizza education in Brazil
Like the U.S., Brazil also experienced a wave of Italian immigration at the beginning of the 20th century, and at this time the seeds of the Brazilian pizza industry were sewn.
However, it wasn’t until recent years that the market’s focus has shifted to artisan pizza.
Increased demand for highly skilled pizza makers has seen the culinary arts and craft of pizza making increasingly promoted in Brazil, with more pizza makers seeking to explore different ways to make dough and promote better health.