Holiday Get-Togethers Not Off The Table, Despite COVID-19

Although many states have enacted emergency laws restricting the number and kind of gathering (and in some cases completely closing indoor dining areas and other entertainment venues) consumers are still seeking ways to be together with friends and families. 

Gatherings around the holidays typically benefit a variety of segments, including travel, restaurants and retail. The good news for them is, many consumers plan to celebrate in-person, both indoors and outdoors, according to a survey by Engine Insights,

Different holidays elicited different plans, with Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa drawing more interest for in-person activities (51%) than New Year’s Eve (39%). 

For New Year’s, 59% of Gen Z are planning in-person activities, compared to 25% of baby boomers. For all demographics, 27% say they will be in-person at an inside venue, compared to 13% at an outdoor venue.



For Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, 25% say they will celebrate virtually, while 26% say they do not plan to celebrate this occasion with anyone this year.  For New Year’s, 22% will celebrate virtually and 40% say they will not celebrate with anyone this year. 

Not surprisingly, COVID-19 is impacting plans in a big way, with 76% saying their Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa plans were affected and 70% saying their New Year’s plans were impacted. 

For in-person New Year’s Eve revelers, 53% expected to spend it with one to five people, 26% with six to 10 people, 6% with 11-15 people, 6 % with 16-20 people, 3% with 21 to 30 people and 6% with more than 30 people. Baby boomers are erring on the side of caution, with 59% saying they will be with one to five people, and 31% opting for six to 10 people. 

More than half (57%) expect New Year’s Eve festivities to take place at their home, 26% at a family member’s home, 11% at a friend’s home and 5% at a bar or restaurant. 

Not everything to come out of the pandemic has been negative. Survey takers offered some positive sentiments including “I got to spend more time with family,” “Biden got elected,” “a vaccine was approved,” “people being kinder to one another,” “I will remember all the efforts of the heroes,” “I was able to slow my life down and not constantly be in a rush.”

The Caravan survey was conducted by Engine Insights among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,003 adults 18 years of age and older. The online survey was live on Dec. 11-13.

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