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Rising consumer confidence suggests hospitality recovery in 2022

Published:  18 January, 2022

New research undertaken by CGA Strategy has recorded a strong desire from consumers to visit on-trade venues, indicating that the sector has successfully allayed fears concerning the Omicron variant.

The organisation's 'Consumer Pulse' survey involved analysing the responses of 2,000 nationally representative consumers. More than two thirds (70%) of the respondents stated they felt confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants.This is double the number of 34% who felt confident at the start of 2021, and a sharp increase on the total of 52% from CGA’s research in July.

However, CGA's research did also highlight lingering anxiety about Covid-19, with more than half (55%) of consumers worried about Omicron and two thirds (67%) concerned about a further peak in infections. Yet the industry's efforts to reassure guests about their wellbeing – reinforced by strict compliance to safety measures – appears to be working, with nearly three quarters (71%) of people feeling very or quite safe on their last visits, a small increase from July’s total of 69%.

The report stated: “Consumers are also keen to support a sector that has been heavily impacted by Covid-19. Seven in 10 say they are worried that venues may not survive the pandemic, while 62% are actively supporting local hospitality businesses.”

It also observed that there are positive signs that footfall should increase in the months ahead, “as one in five (19%) consumers plans to visit venues more often than they did last year – slightly more than the number who think they will make fewer visits (17%)". A third said they will step up their frequency of visits after the end of January.

CGA’s group CEO, Phil Tate, commented: “After a very tough Christmas, these numbers are a welcome reminder of the huge underlying appeal of Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants. Having missed out on so many hospitality occasions in 2021, and with concerns about safety easing, we can be cautiously optimistic that spending will rebound as the year goes on. However, it’s important to remember that some consumers remain anxious about going out. Hygiene and cleanliness will be important drivers of visits for some time to come, so venues will have to be vigilant on standards.”

He added: “Some hospitality businesses remain vulnerable after enduring nearly two years of very challenging trading conditions. But this is a resilient and resourceful industry, and with the right support from government it is well placed to drive Britain’s economic recovery in 2022 and thrive in the long run.”

All figures are taken from CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey of 2,000 nationally representative consumers, conducted from 10 to 17 January.