A new report from TWC has highlighted the importance of wholesalers adapting to change and working ‘smart’ so they can support their customers in both retail and foodservice and help them optimise opportunities that may result from emerging, or re-emerging, consumer behaviours.

The TWC Trends report 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%.  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, aligning with the high proportion of consumers opting to entertain at home.

With almost 7 in 10 consumers saying they have entertained friends at home in the last month and/or they plan to do so in the next month, Sarah Coleman, Director of Communications for TWC highlights that market sands are shifting and potentially, ‘blurring’ when it comes to socialising, which could affect shopper behaviour.  She says:

“With high future intent to entertain at home, retailers and foodservice both have an opportunity to target home entertaining occasions, to meet the needs of those that don’t want to go out, or indeed those who have enjoyed entertaining at home through the pandemic and wish to continue. If current concerns about the new Omicron variant lead to further restrictions, wholesalers need to be prepared for an increase in in-home occasions.”

“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. We see this as an opportunity not only for hospitality but for retail operators too – be they physical, local or online.  With home deliveries now an accepted ‘norm’ for outlets and increasing investment in home ordering apps and e-commerce, it’s a natural extension that can be mobilised very swiftly.”

“There are more people entertaining at home right now than the percentage that have met friends/family in a pub, implying a significant opportunity for both retail and foodservice operators and their partner wholesalers and suppliers to create products to target this in-home occasion”.

The new report from TWC Trends also showed that businesses who get to know their customers – for instance, who they are, what they buy and when – are likely to get ahead.  Coleman says:

“Over half of those questioned said they are happy for businesses to collect data about their spending habits if they personalise their offer better in return. Furthermore, over a third of consumers agreed that convenience stores should collect and use customer data to offer personalised products and promotions.”

“If we align this back to the question of home entertainment, wholesalers have a real opportunity to think about marketing new occasions through deals and promotions and helping their customers to drive loyalty with the end consumer.

“Data plays a pivotal role in this.  Those wholesale businesses that aren’t close to their customers will be the ones that lose out.   You can be sure that if you aren’t targeting your customers with personalised offers that help them make more possible, then your competitors will be!”

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, please visit https://twcgroup.net/twc-trends-autumn-edition-2021/

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