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People’s comfort returning to out-of-home activities on the decline

Up until early June, U.S. adults were showing increasing comfort in doing various out-of-home (OOH) activities. Then, in the latter half of June as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases began to surge, the share of adults who said they felt very or somewhat comfortable started to decline. In late July, significant differences emerged for the first time with Millennials beginning to increase in comfort for nearly every OOH leisure activity while Gen X ‘s and Baby Boomers’ comfort levels were continuing to decline. I haven’t found an explanation for the differences. Then, in early August, the comfort level for Millennials took a steep decline, with their comfort levels again coming very close to that for all adults. Comfort levels for the three generational cohorts are now lower than they were in June. 

Results from an August 14-17 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults found that one-third of adults are currently comfortable going out to eat in a restaurant or café (34%), one-fifth are comfortable going to a museum and only around one-sixth are comfortable going to OOH entertainment activities. 

The six graphs below plot the comfort level for all adults and for Millennials, where the differences are easy to see. 

The following graphs show the percent of each generation who felt comfortable doing the same six OOH activities. Both Millennials and Gen X (age 40-55) are the most comfortable doing all six OOH activities. OOH entertainment ranks the lowest, with less than one-quarter of Millennials and Gen X comfortable. Surprisingly, Gen Z ranks substantially less comfortable for the OOH entertainment and cultural activities. Boomers are the least comfortable for those activities

That same August 14-17 survey asked adults how soon they will be returning to different OOH activities. Here’s the percent of people saying they won’t be returning to different activities for at least 6 months in the future. 

Often, peoples’ stated intentions and their actual future behaviors will be different. The rate of coronavirus infections and any medical breakthrough in preventing or treating Covid-19 could easily change actual behaviors one way or the other. 

Of course, all the above data represents an average for the entire U.S. Actual comfort levels, intentions and behaviors will vary by locality. In some areas of the country, they will be better, while in others they will be worse. 

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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