The findings were highlighted as part of a new report from TWC that focuses on current trends in the market – and broached the importance of wholesalers adapting to change and working smart to help both retail and foodservice customers.
While the TWC Trends report found that 83% of the nation said they’d visited a hospitality outlet in the past month – a higher number than those visiting supermarkets (80%) – it was the opportunity for at-home occasions that stood out.
The research showed almost seven in 10 consumers said they’d entertained friends at home in the past month or plan to do so, showing how the market sands are shifting.
And with new Covid-19 restrictions coming into place since the discovery of the Omicron variant, the draw to staying in smaller groups is only likely to get larger.
“With high future intent to entertain at home, retailers and foodservice both have an opportunity to target home entertaining occasions, to meet the needs of those that don’t want to go out, or indeed those who have enjoyed entertaining at home through the pandemic and wish to continue,” said Director of Communications Sarah Coleman.
“Our data shows that home entertaining with food from restaurants appeals to all age groups, with more than a quarter of consumers saying they would happily consider ordering food from a restaurant to eat at home when they entertain.
“We see this as an opportunity not only for hospitality but for retail operators too – be they physical, local or online. With home deliveries now an accepted ‘norm’ for outlets and increasing investment in home ordering apps and e-commerce, it’s a natural extension that can be mobilised very swiftly.
“There are more people entertaining at home right now than the percentage that have met friends/family in a pub, implying a significant opportunity for both retail and foodservice operators and their partner wholesalers and suppliers to create products to target this in-home occasion.”
In order to make sure they’re reacting to live trends, wholesalers need to be keeping an eye on customer data to spot changes in behaviour – with TWC’s study also showing the businesses that get to know their customers are likely to get ahead.
“Over half of those questioned said they’re happy for businesses to collect data about their spending habits if they personalise their offer better in return,” added Coleman.
“Furthermore, over a third of consumers agreed that convenience stores should collect and use customer data to offer personalised products and promotions.”
“If we align this back to the question of home entertainment, wholesalers have a real opportunity to think about marketing new occasions through deals and promotions and helping their customers to drive loyalty with the end consumer.
“Data plays a pivotal role in this. Those wholesale businesses that aren’t close to their customers will be the ones that lose out. You can be sure that if you aren’t targeting your customers with personalised offers that help them make more possible, then your competitors will be.”