Gulf South Consumers Ready to ‘Get Back in the Game’

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METAIRIE – The Ehrhardt Group and Causeway Solutions, authors of the Gulf South Index consumer research reports, say that leisure activities came to a standstill at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and brands are going to great lengths to adjust and continue to conduct business under the current less-than-ideal circumstances.

While people are anxious to get out and resume enjoying their favorite pastimes, many consumers are avoiding participating in crowded activities such as attending sporting events, going to movie theaters and taking in concerts until the health crisis is under control.

“Consumers are still wary of getting together in social settings and it will be a gradual reintroduction to leisure activities as we progress through 2021 and return to a greater sense of normalcy,” said Marc Ehrhardt, president and partner of the Ehrhardt Group. “While some generations, such as Millennials, are eager to take the leap into the deep end of recreational activities, other aren’t quite ready to get their toes wet.”

One area where consumers are ready now more than ever to jump back in is restaurant dining. 44% of consumers feel comfortable enjoying a meal at a restaurant – the largest percentage since the onset of the pandemic. Many establishments are offering outdoor dining options, and this is further putting customers at ease with their decision get out and enjoy a meal at their favorite eateries. 

In addition, people are ready to get back in the game … literally. For the first time since June 2020, more than 20% of consumers surveyed stated that they would be comfortable attending a sporting event in person, according to Morning Consult. Millennials – those ages 25-40 – are the group most ready to fill the stands.

While streaming continues to be a smash hit for at home entertainment, out-of-home activities are back on consumers’ radars. Approximately 25% are reporting they would feel comfortable at a movie theater right now. Millennials came in at 40% while Baby Boomers – those ages 57-75 – are the least ready to grab the popcorn at 17%.

In addition, 30% of respondents are currently in favor of visiting a museum and 24% would be open to going to an amusement park. However, consumers are still hesitant to venture out to a live theater performance or concert.

Vacations Back on the Table

More than one in three Americans say they feel safe taking a vacation and staying in a major hotel chain according to Morning Consult. Consumers are currently more comfortable with larger chain hotels as opposed to smaller boutiques and home-sharing options. This may be due to pre-conceived notions surrounding cleanliness. 

Meanwhile, many consumers expect leisure travel activities to return to normal in September or October, according to Resonate’s COVID-19 and Emerging Trends Report.

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