Even as many restaurants and bars slowly begin returning to near-normal operations, a new survey from Accenture shows that Canadians may not be as eager to patronize establishments as they were before COVID-19, with more than half (56 per cent) reporting they are reluctant to visit bars in the next six months.
The survey also found that 42 per cent of Canadians are uncomfortable with the prospect of visiting public spaces in the future, with most preferring to go to a friend or relative’s house (69 per cent) and almost half (44 per cent) of Canadian consumers likely to socialize virtually going forward, as opposed to in-person.
Earlier research conducted worldwide by Accenture found that only 18 per cent of those polled would be comfortable visiting a bar or club and only 27 per cent would be willing to go to a coffee shop or restaurant. Accenture also reports that alcoholic beverage companies have had to shift their focus to home consumption and therefore accelerate digital adoption to enhance customer experience.
Kelly Askew, managing director for Accenture Strategy, said, “The economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt by virtually all businesses across the world for years to come. For alcoholic beverage producers in particular, the outlook is challenging. Online and retail sales may be soaring for some brands as shoppers are forced to refocus on home consumption during lockdowns, but this is more than offset by the collapse in bar and restaurant sales and catering for events and large gatherings.
“The crisis is going to define the 20s and will likely lead to a seminal change on how people think about consumption going forward. Our research points to new consumer behaviour which will likely outlast the pandemic, something that Canadian businesses must factor into long-term recovery planning.”
The research surveyed over 8,850 consumers across 20 countries, including almost 410 in Canada, and was conducted online between June 16 and June 22. The company plans to conduct follow-up surveys in the coming weeks and months.