Study examines consumers' tipping habits

April 4, 2013

A new survey from reveals that many U.S. consumers (26 percent) who use coupons or daily deals tip on the discounted total. This results in a lower pay for those performing the services.

In addition, 30 percent of U.S. adults said they don't leave a tip when they receive less than average service. Half (50 percent) leave a small tip to make a point when they experience subpar service.

For some customers, the quality of the establishment can be the deciding factor in how much they tip. Sixteen percent of U.S. adults who dine in restaurants tip more when they're at a fine dining establishment. On the flip side, 51 percent tip solely depending on the service they receive. Twenty-five percent said they don't tip more when they're at a fine dining restaurant and 8 percent don't dine at such places.

The ubiquitous tip jar at coffee shops, boutiques and other small businesses has added a new element to the tipping genre. Nearly six-in-10 (59 percent) U.S. adults report they leave extra change or place money in a "tip jar" at least sometimes. Forty-one percent rarely or never give the tip jar love.

Traditional tippers still exist, according to the survey. More than half (51 percent) of U.S. adults typically tip 16 percent or higher for average service in a restaurant, and nearly one-third (32 percent) said they tip between 11 percent and 15 percent for average service. Fourteen percent said they tip 10 percent or less for average service.

"Tipping is a very personal decision, but it's money that should always be factored into a budget," said Jackie Warrick, senior savings adviser at "Plan ahead before going out to dinner, getting a haircut or ordering delivery to understand just how much those services will end up costing. A little bit of preparation can go a long way in keeping a budget on track. "

Restaurants are where consumers tip the most. When asked for which types of the following people or services they feel obligated to leave a tip, survey respondents said the following:

  • Restaurant staff (including wait staff, take out coordinator, maitre d'): 87 percent
  • Hairstylist: 69 percent
  • Bartender: 62 percent
  • Taxi, car or limo driver: 60 percent
  • Valet: 54 percent
  • Bellhop: 52 percent
  • Beauty treatment provider (manicures, pedicures, waxing, etc...): 41 percent
  • Home delivery (new furniture, appliances, etc...): 38 percent
  • Spa treatment provider (massages, facials, skin treatments, etc...): 35 percent
  • Restroom attendant: 22 percent

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from March 22-26.

Read more about trends.

Topics: Staffing & Training, Trends / Statistics

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