Spend fell from £14.83 in the previous four-week period to £10.27 - a decrease of 30.7% - with dinner and lunch occasions seeing a decline in share of 1.7 percentage points (ppts) and 1.4ppts, respectively, as consumer caution increased in the run up to Christmas.
Overall participation in the eating and drinking out market fell from 55% to 53%. However,there were some occasions that gained share during December, with breakfast, brunch and snacking occasions all seeing a rise.
There were also more drink-led occasions, from 23.5% in the four weeks to 28 November, to 24.7% in the most recent period.
In terms of channel variance, restaurants’ share declined by 1.6ppts, as did catering and retail, but QSR saw a boost of 0.7ppts, and represented more than one-in-four occasions, with consumers opting to visit venues typically involving less social contact.
“Following a catastrophic festive period in 2020, hospitality operators were hopeful of a huge boost this time,” says Blonnie Whist, insight director at Lumina Intelligence.
“While restrictions were kept to a minimum in England, rapidly rising case numbers, caused by the Omicron variant, resulted in consumers becoming more risk averse to protect the plans they had to see family and friends over Christmas.
“This led to a slightly subdued December, as spend and participation declined versus November. With cases starting to ease, operators will be hoping that consumers re-book those plans.”