Younger drinkers have stopped drinking; bars, restaurants and hotels could remain largely off-limits; and the apparently irreversible shift to online may well be as temporary as family Zoom quizzes. Those are the findings from the latest research by market analysts Wine Intelligence.
Carried out across Europe in early April – at a time when lockdown restrictions and Covid-related deaths were at their height – the research reveals just how differently various demographics reacted to the pandemic.
And broadly speaking, it’s better news if your customer base are drinks-lovers aged 25-50 than if they’re older or younger.
The latter have cut back drinking significantly during lockdown – and many of them say they may well not start up again.
‘These are the ones feeling most impacted and unsure about the future,’ said Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead. ‘It’s worrying for [the industry] culturally that our ‘‘halters’’ are our youngest segment.’
The ‘stay at home’ message of March and April continues to create a tough atmosphere for the hospitality world: 30% of respondents felt they would go out less often to bars, pubs, restaurants or stay in a hotel.
‘If you’ve spent months being told that it’s dangerous to be out, it’s hard to reverse that message,’ said Halstead.
Venues, however, need to beware of assuming that their newly created direct-to-consumer models will be the future.
‘We tend to revert back to what we’ve chosen to do when we have a choice,’ said Halstead. ‘Consumers aren’t anticipating a big online change to their shopping patterns.’