A new report by TWC Trends shows that four months after full lockdown ended in July 2021, 83% of the nation had visited a hospitality establishment in the last month – which is higher than the proportion saying that they had visited a supermarket, at 80%.

The younger generation have been the most active with 91% of consumers aged between 18 and 25 going out to drink or eat. Overall, the biggest driver for going out to pubs, bars and restaurants was a desire to socialise with friends and family, whilst younger consumers were more likely to also cite other occasions including celebrations, filling time and to work/study in a venue.

These figures demonstrate that despite some caution amongst older generations in particular, penetration has returned to pubs, bars and restaurants. However, what may not have returned is the same level of frequency and spend as pre-pandemic, since only a third of adults said they were going out to a restaurant, pub or bar once a week or more.

According to Sarah Coleman, Director of Communications for TWC, this can in part be explained by a rise in home entertaining and socialising at home, a legacy of the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.  She says:

“Almost 7 out of 10 consumers say they have entertained friends or family at home in the last month and/or they plan to do so in the next month – this could represent consumers who have enjoyed entertaining at home through the lockdowns and indeed those that are still not comfortable going out.”

“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.”

The hospitality industry has been gearing up for a big festive season but looming concerns about the new Omicron variant are leading to fears of a return to restrictions of some kind. Coleman comments:

“We remain optimistic that it won’t come to that for the sake of the industry and we know from our research that over half of consumers are wanting to make up for lost time and really enjoy their festive celebrations this year. But of course, if the situation deteriorates, operators will need to be prepared for an increase in demand for in-home solutions.”

This research on “(Re)-Emerging Behaviours – Attitudes, to socialising both within and outside of the home” is the first in a series of new mini reports from TWC Trends.  The TWC Trends Autumn Edition 2021 series is based on the views and sentiments of over 1,000 consumers across the UK. The research was conducted between 5-8 November 2021.

To find out more about the latest TWC Trends report, click here.