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Citysearch Reports: Bars Bouncing Back, Restaurants Not as Quick to Rebound

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 02:00

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a 2011 National Consumer Spending Habits study released today by Citysearch and conducted by Harris Interactive®, certain business sectors are on the rebound post-recession, with bars and clubs making the fastest comeback among consumers over last year. And, while folks have continued to primp at the hairdresser, nail salon and local barber, keeping the personal services category fairly steady, restaurants, retail and entertainment are still trying to increase the stream of people coming through their front doors.


Citysearch commissioned Harris Interactive to field this study, which was conducted by telephone between August 24 – 28, 2011 among a nationwide cross section of 1,003 adults, age 18 and over.

"Consumers are feeling a bit of recession relief, and it's interesting to see they're spending their hard-earned money at the local bar," said Kara Nortman, SVP, Publishing at CityGrid Media. "People need to eat, and while restaurants are still the most visited businesses overall, they were hit by the recession. Plenty of people are still pinching their pennies when it comes to dining out, shopping and going to movies or concerts."

Restaurants remain the most frequented local businesses, with 80% of people saying they go out to eat at least once every three months. 37% say they are dining out less often now than a year ago and only 15% say they are eating out more this year than last.

Meanwhile consumers may frequent the corner pub less often overall than other local businesses, but they've amped up their visits to the place where everybody knows their name. Bars saw the biggest jump in patrons returning over the previous year.

Detailed findings on where people are headed include:

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Hit Happy Hour

Proving that a stiff drink may be the cure-all in what are still tough economic times, bars and clubs have been the business sector to rebound most quickly over the year prior. Millennials are leading this trend, with young men in particular the first to say they're patronizing their local watering hole more this year than last.

  • Almost one in four survey respondents (23%) say they are going to bars and clubs more this year than last
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents under 35 say they are patronizing bars and clubs more than last year
  • 49% of males in the 18-34 age range are going out to bars more this year, compared with only 6% of men in the 35-54 age group

Lookin' Good… for a Night In

Shopping and eating out don't seem to have the same draw as a well-mixed cocktail, with over a third of people saying they visit restaurants and retail businesses less than the year before. But, despite more time spent at home, people aren't willing to let their looks fall by the wayside. Hairdressers, spas and other personal services merchants were the most likely to have seen their stream of customers remain steady throughout the calendar year.

  • Only 15% of people say they're eating out more this year than last; 37% say they are going to restaurants less often than they were a year ago
  • Over one-third of people (34%) say they are visiting retail businesses less
  • Seven in ten respondents (70%) say they patronize personal services the same amount as this time last year

Generation Spendthrift

Younger people seem to be the age group most responsible for local economic recovery overall. Whether taking in the latest blockbuster, getting a mani-pedi or hitting a new hotspot for date night, people under 35 were the most likely to let their cash flow freely. Among adults under 35:

  • Over half (51%) go to the movies at least once a month while only three in ten (30%) of those over 55 can say the same
  • More than one in four (28%) are going to restaurants more this year than last
    • This number jumps to 43% among 18-24 year olds
  • A quarter (25%) are visiting personal service businesses more than a year ago
  • 28% are doing more than window shopping, saying they go to retail stores more than the previous year, as compared with 11% of adults 35-54

The National Consumer Spending Habits study is a precursor to an upcoming CityGrid Local Intelligence Report with findings on local businesses opening and closing their doors by market.


This survey was conducted by Harris Interactive by telephone within the United States on behalf of Citysearch between August 24 – 28, 2011 among a nationwide cross section of 1,003 adults (aged 18 and over). For a full methodology, please contact Jenny Davis.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About Citysearch

Citysearch is the leading online local guide that enables consumers to stay connected with access to neighborhood restaurants, bars, shopping, beauty and professional services across every zipcode in the US. When you are on the road, Citysearch offers mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android and Palm. Citysearch is a property of CityGrid Media, the online media company that connects web and mobile publishers with local advertising organizations by linking them through CityGrid®, its local content and advertising network. CityGrid Media is an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI). For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Jenny Davis for Citysearch
Dotted Line Communications
Phone: 925-935-2558

SOURCE Citysearch

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