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Consumers eager to return to going out, CGA finds

CGA’s forecast was based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,000 on-trade consumers

Well over half (59%) of consumers said they “couldn’t wait” to go out again, while 51% hoped to get back to venues within a few weeks of reopening, according to the latest CGA Hospitality Consumer Forecast.

CGA’s forecast was based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,000 on-trade consumers.

Despite a growing confidence amongst consumers, the data revealed that three quarters (77%) were still worried that life won’t return to normal in 2021.

In total, the latest figures are broadly in line with those ahead of the reopening of hospitality after the first national lockdown in July 2020.

While concerns about safety continue, the forecast showed confidence about going out is likely to rise in line with the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines—prompting optimism that people will return to the sector promptly and safely when it reopens this time round.

The survey revealed that restaurants and cafes are likely to receive many of the first wave of returning consumers. Nearly a third (32% and 31% respectively) plan to visit them within the first few weeks of reopening—just ahead of pubs and fast food venues (both 25%).

However, the forecast also hinted that the post-lockdown market will be somewhat “polarised” between those spending “carefully and freely”, with similar numbers indicating they will be controlling their spending and treating themselves.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of late-night and nightclub users now said they would feel comfortable visiting them when they are allowed to do so, a 23% points increase since June 2020. The numbers are similar among bar visitors, with 72%, up by ten% points, last June, suggesting that they would feel confident attending these venues.

Florence Brun, consumer research executive, CGA, said: “Consumers have sorely missed going out to eat and drink, and these numbers show the enduring appeal of restaurants, pubs and bars.

People are going to have to wait a while yet, and some will need reassuring, but when venues are able to open their doors we can look forward to a steady as well as safe return of guests.”

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