Reopening Of Hospitality Improves Consumer Confidence But Concerns Over ‘Second Wave”

Customer confidence has improved slightly for the third quarter but concerns remain over a second wave of the pandemic, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker.

Consumer confidence edged upward by one percentage point, to -16%, in Q3 but remained seven percentage points lower than the same period last year, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker. Sentiment improved for job security, job opportunities and career progression, and children’s education as hospitality reopened during the summer and the academic year resumed.

However, whilst sentiment on the state of the economy improved six percentage points quarter-on-quarter, the combination of new local lockdown measures, a year-end Brexit transition deadline, and ongoing financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw year-on-year confidence fall by 27 percentage points, to -82%.

Deloitte’s analysis is based on responses from more than 3,000 UK consumers between 25th and 29th September 2020, at a time when some workers returned to home working, and new early closure rules for pubs and restaurants came into effect across the UK.

One for the road

According to the research, net spending increased quarter-on-quarter across a range of leisure categories, including eating out, drinking in pubs and bars, and visiting coffee and sandwich shops, up +47, +35, and +33 percentage points, respectively. Whilst net spending in most leisure categories remained below last year’s levels in Q3, consumers’ spending on hospitality was driven by an easing of COVID-19 restrictions from early July, combined with warmer weather and continued financial support from government schemes, such as Eat Out to Help Out.

Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “The gradual reopening of many leisure activities during the third quarter prompted a timid return to social life for consumers, following lockdown closures earlier in the year. Financial support for the sector has resulted in encouraging signs for dining and drinking out activities in particular. However, the next six months are likely to determine the speed of the leisure sector’s recovery, pending any sustained interruptions and ability to operate effectively.”