Returning consumers ready to spend in the US

Spending is holding up well as the On Premise reopens in many American states—but the pandemic has created important changes in consumers’ behaviour.

CGA’s latest COVID-19 Consumer Impact Report provides crucial intelligence on consumers’ new attitudes in the US, as well as important clues for the UK market when it returns from mid-April. It shows that four in five US consumers spent either as much (56%) or more (23%) on their first visit back to the On Premise as on an average pre COVID-19 visit, with only 21% spending less. 


Spending on drinks has continued to hold up well after those first visits back, with more than two thirds (68%) of consumers now spending as much or more on alcohol per visit than they did before COVID-19—and younger adults are spending well above the average.  


Currently, people are most likely to go out with partners or spouses on their first visit, and after initial visit, they are equally as likely to return with a partner or friends. Demand for intimate and small group visits exceeds celebratory and large group occasions for now, and people are most likely to visit a favourite or local venue on first visits back—a sign that many people will be seeking familiarity when they go out to eat and drink again. In another hint that consumers are prepared to spend more liberally post-lockdown, fine dining restaurants have become the third most popular venue for U.S. returnees, just behind independents and casual dining chains. 


Drinks choices among returning consumers closely resemble pre-pandemic patterns, with beer dominating in neighbourhood bars, sports bars, and independent restaurants, while sparkling wine and cocktails retain a strong position in fine dining restaurants. 


Amy Warren, director of client services at Nielsen CGA, says: “It’s encouraging to see US consumers returning to the On Premise with the confidence to spend, and it’s a positive sign for the UK market as it prepares to trade again.

“However, people’s post-lockdown habits will be different to pre-pandemic ones in subtle but important ways, and appreciating the nuances will be the starting point for a successful reopening. The weeks running up to relaunch are a great time for operators, brands and suppliers to properly understand both global and local behaviours, and plan accordingly.”

The new US report is part of CGA’s comprehensive tracking of global On Premise markets as restaurants, pubs, and bars begin to reopen around the world. As well as in the US, CGA’s On Premise User Survey (OPUS) is providing a detailed picture of consumer intentions in several markets including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada, with Ireland, France and Germany to follow. Combined with their ongoing market performance and sales data, CGA’s consumer reports provide unrivalled insights into consumers’ post-lockdown behaviour at a global level.  


To read the full US COVID-19 On Premise Impact Report click here.

All figures in the US report are based on a sample of 1,584 consumers who have drunk alcohol in the On Premise in the last three months and who come from New York, Illinois, California and Texas. The survey was conducted from 5 to 8 March.  


CGA’s On Premise User Survey (OPUS) delivers exclusive insights into many aspects of consumer behaviour in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada, enabling drinks brands, suppliers, and operators understand where and how to reach their audiences. To learn more about CGA’s On Premise performance data and custom consumer research capabilities around the world, contact  


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