Young adults are leading consumers’ return to hospitality, pubs are benefiting most from outdoor service, and confidence levels are much higher than after England’s previous big lockdown. Those are three of the top insights into England’s post-lockdown market in CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey, which revealed that nearly half (44%) of British adults have been back to hospitality venues, despite being limited to outdoor service.
The survey shows that 45% of these returning consumers are aged 18 to 34. However, older age groups have been more hesitant, with fewer than a quarter (23%) of visits coming from people aged 55 and over.
Good weather and beer gardens are pulling consumers towards pubs ahead of restaurants so far. Just over half (54%) of those who have been out have visited a pub, while around a third (35%) have been to restaurants, where outdoor space tends to be more limited.
The Consumer Pulse survey has encouraging signs of consumers’ confidence. Two thirds (66%) of respondents say they didn’t feel nervous about visiting venues—19 percentage points up on those feeling anxious after hospitality’s reopening from the first national lockdown last summer. Nearly nine in ten (88%) said they felt less nervous or no different after their visits—up 15 percentage points from July 2020.
CGA’s research has shown how many consumers have stayed close to home when eating and drinking out since the pandemic hit, and those habits have extended into the latest reopening. The convenience of a venue to visit (26%), and the fact that it was local (25%) have been the two most important considerations when consumers choose where to go out.
After a strong first week of sales for venues that have been able to trade, the momentum of visits looks set to continue, with nearly half of consumers in England planning their next visit in either the next few days (19%) or the next week (28%).
“Hannah Payne, CGA’s consumer research manager, said: “It’s encouraging to see good levels of consumer confidence in the early days of reopening, and if the good weather holds then we can expect even more people to make their way back to pubs, bars and restaurants over the next week. The challenge now is to encourage visits among older demographics, who will be more concerned than younger adults about safety and crowds”.