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Reopening brings a third of consumers back

Just over a third of consumers in English returned to restaurants, pubs and bars in the first ten days of reopening, according to CGA’s Consumer Pulse research.

The poll of 500 adults shows that 35% paid a visit between Saturday 4th and Monday 13th July, and that the charge was led by younger adults: more than half (55%) of 25 to 34 year-olds have now ventured out, and nearly as many 18 to 24 year-olds (46%).

With an average of 2.5 visits in the first ten days, the research shows that many early returners are already getting back into the habit of regular visits. More than half of them have visited pubs (54%) ahead of both restaurants (46%) and bars (26%).

The Consumer Pulse data confirms another big post-lockdown trend - that consumers want to stay close to home even as movement restrictions ease. More than two-thirds (69%) travelled no further than 20 minutes to eat or drink out, which CGA says presents major challenges for town and city centre operators who have previously been able to draw people in from outlying areas.

There are positive signs, however, that returning consumers are going to stay out, with four in five planning another visit in either the next week (57%) or next fortnight (23%).

Of the 65% of people who haven’t yet returned, nearly half say they don’t feel safe in close proximity to strangers, and nearly as many don’t feel safe enough to go out generally yet. But there are encouraging hints that the government’s new Eat Out To Help Out scheme could kickstart visits, with two in five of those who haven’t been out yet say they are very or somewhat likely to use the scheme.

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