Clearly the post-April 12 bump is not being felt evenly across sectors. Delayable spending was the main driver here. With many non-essential shops that stock items in this category now open, this makes sense. We imagine a fair few people got new clothes in preparation for socializing more too.
Work-related spending, while steadily rising all year, also saw a bump. This is presumably as more people travelled to work at reopened businesses. Meanwhile, staple spending is about where it was at the start of the year, having fallen after an Easter bump.
No surprises so far. But now we look at social spending, which importantly includes bars and restaurants. With these businesses partially re-opening, we may have expected a drastic increase. Sadly, spending levels haven’t moved much.
We can see a slight bump around April 12. It might not look like anything to shout about, but it was the most social spending the UK has seen since March 2020. That’s something to celebrate.
The issue is that this increase soon disappears, and spending levels are now the same as they were before the easing. While still at high levels in relation to the rest of the pandemic, this may be disappointing news for pub and restaurant owners.
There are a lot of factors at play here. First, the excitement of getting back to the pub may have faded quickly, especially with the stringent social distancing and booking requirements in place. Any bad weather will also hamper spending when many businesses are operating outdoors-only, while people may have offset their big delayable expenditures by passing on a meal out for now. It might be exciting to get back to some normality, but many people are still feeling the financial pinch.
The big test will be this weekend, as millions across the country get their pay packets. With full wallets, a bank holiday, and fresh outfits, this is likely to be the best weekend for pubs and restaurants of the pandemic so far. Let’s hope for sunshine.
Good luck, chaps!
If you want to take a look at the CHAPs data, you can find it here, with the next dataset released on May 6.
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The Brandwatch React team