Fragile consumer confidence has been further weakened by the latest round of government measures to stop the spread of coronavirus—but a loyal core remain committed to eating and drinking out.

CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse survey, conducted soon after last week’s announcement of new requirements including 10pm curfews and mandatory table service, found that more than a quarter (28%) of British adults now feel less confident about visiting the out-of-home market. That is nearly twice the number (15%) feeling more confident with the new measures in place.

Although this leaves a majority of consumers whose behaviour is unchanged, the dip in confidence has already led many people to cut the frequency and length of their visits to the on-trade.

CGA’s surveys have tracked a gradual recovery of confidence since the spring, but three quarters (75%) of adults now say they are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the health of themselves and families—down from a peak of 89% in April but the first rise since then. More than half (52%) of consumers are now worried about job security, up five percentage points from June, which will have consequences for disposable incomes.

But the latest survey also shows that confidence among heavy users of the sector remains strong. Of those who previously ate out weekly, there is a net drop in confidence of only three percentage points. A third (34%) of consumers also say they would still be confident in meeting up with other households in venues if allowed—more than the 31% who said they wouldn’t.

Any new government measures don’t just reduce consumers’ spending in pubs, bars and restaurants—they have an immediate impact on their general out-of-home confidence,” says CGA’s Research & Insight Director Charlie Mitchell. “Operators can’t control official restrictions, so the best thing they can do is continue their excellent work in enforcing restrictions in a careful and sensitive way and communicating that their venues are safe for people to visit. If they can do that, they can help to strengthen very fragile consumer confidence and capitalise when restrictions are eventually eased.”

The Consumer Pulse data is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 British adults on Tuesday 22 September.

To learn how CGA’s Consumer Pulse and other research can provide crucial insights into consumers’ fast-changing sentiment and attitudes to the out-of-home sector, contact Charlie Mitchell at charlie.mitchell@cga.co.uk.

 

     

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