As pubs reopened in England, who went out for a pint?

Consumers are responding very differently to the threat of coronavirus. Which "Tribes" are out socialising, and what might that mean for your business?
14 July 2020
pubs lockdown england coronavirus
Marieke Riemslag

Senior Research Director

Lucy Thomas

Senior Client Executive

Get in touch

For the first time since lockdown began, pubs and restaurants opened their doors to customers on 4 July, dubbed “Super Saturday”. According to the UK Prime Minister, this marks the beginning of the end of “our long national hibernation”, and we are seeing that people are excited... but not quite ready.

Our latest COVID-19 Barometer data for the UK shows that while half of the population was looking forward to visiting pubs and bars again, only 26% actually did visit one over the opening weekend. A huge 41% mentioned that they are not planning to visit a pub or a restaurant any time soon. This tells us there is still real concern about how safe it is to re-engage in day-to-day life (with or without a face covering or mask). The blunt reality is that 39% believe that pubs have opened their doors too early, fearing a second wave of coronavirus is looming.

People are tribal

Using our Research Express tool, we have been exploring the impact COVID-19 is having on people in the UK and tracking how their mental health, feelings and behaviour have changed during the crisis. To help you understand how people are responding to the crisis we have identified six consumer Tribes defined by levels of worry, information consumption, adhering to rules and government trust.

Which Tribe are your consumers in?

  1. Ostriches keep on pushing the boundaries and ‘breaking’ the rules. This group seems to read less into the real issues and act on their passion.
  2. Que Seras (whatever will be, will be…): They are pretty chilled being less informed and think all the rules are a bit excessive, meaning they are less likely to follow them.
  3. Precarious Worriers have experienced the current situation as really challenging. Their mental health is impacted by the variety of challenges COVID-19 brings (financial, social and health related) and they wish the government would do more.
  4. Good Citizens keep themselves well informed and stick to the guidelines and feel angry towards people who don’t.
  5. Hibernators: This group accepts the situation, and doesn’t need to be updated constantly. They want everything to get back to some kind of normality, and the possibility that irresponsible people will jeopardise this can have a negative impact on their state of mind.
  6. Distressed Dreamers: Whilst they are worried, they do believe things will get better. They are improving in terms of mental health as the risk of infections decreases and more is known about the virus.

Each of the Coronavirus Tribes have identified different concerns and behaviours. Brands need to understand the dynamics of each and need to reshape their messaging, consumer experiences, and even their innovation plans, to connect with consumers during this time.

What the Tribes actually did on Super Saturday

Ostriches and Que Seras are less likely to follow the rules, and unsurprisingly they are most likely to ‘bounce back’ first to normality. 44% of the members of these two Tribes were straight back to the pubs and restaurants over the opening weekend. Less than 30% of them are not planning to do so any time soon. Will they be the ones to kick-start our economy?

Precarious Worriers are attempting to lead the anti-pub movement, with 81% saying that they don’t feel it is safe enough to return yet, mainly due to the fact it is not possible to be follow social distancing guidelines in a pub.

Those who are ‘following the rules’ – our Good Citizens – lack faith in other people to actually follow the rules as 38% of them fear that people will not behave ‘correctly’ in the pub and restaurant environment.

Despite this, 45% of pub goers felt comfortable because of extra safety measures taken, and 41% claim they adhered to the social distancing rules. How will other brands mitigate risk to get customers returning to them?

For more information on any of the Tribes and their attitudes and behaviours please get in touch. 

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