Pubs face fierce on-trade competition, says report

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

03 December 2015

Pubs and bars now face exceptionally fierce and direct competition from coffee shops and restaurants, as consumers look to moderate their drinking, according to the second annual Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report 2015/2016.

The report, which surveyed 1,800 consumers and collates data from CGA, Kantar Worldpanel, and Future Foundation, found that pubs remain the number one consumer weekly activity when it comes to leisure spend. However, visits to coffee shops are growing ahead of pubs, with a 5% increase versus 2% for pubs. Visits to restaurants increased by 4%.

The shift is directly related to a move towards lower alcohol consumption, with 81% of those surveyed stating they wish to moderate their drinking. Over 35s are just as likely to visit a coffee shop as a pub, while Millennials are just as likely to go to the gym or go shopping as go to the pub.

The report also found that a return of consumer confidence has seen consumer out-of-home spending rise to £145bn in 2014. ‘Experience’ driven leisure activities are enjoying particular success with 60% of consumers looking to seek out new experiences. A trend for mid-week at home socialising is driving treat occasions at the weekend, with 31% of consumers budgeting over £30 for a weekend occasion, versus 9% during the week.

David Scott, director of brands and insight at Carlsberg UK, said: 'The British on-trade has faced its fair share of adversity in recent years, confronted with recession and fragile consumer confidence, so it’s enormously encouraging to report a rise in spending and confidence growing – now driving the channel.

'While the Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report highlights new and on-going challenges for the UK pub, the study also delivers key insight to trends and opportunities, including value in sport or all-day dining in pubs, and an in-depth understanding of today’s pub-goer. For example, we know that four in five people are now really thinking about their alcohol habits and plan to moderate their drinking – a significant consumer movement and opportunity for pubs.'

Scott said pubs and bars need to take advantage of new opportunities to encourage consumers to visit. Activities that offer an educational element are booming, with 66% stating ‘entertainment should be about learning new things as well as having fun’. Around 45% stated the pub quiz was the number one activity choice in the pub.

Get the full Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report 2015/2016

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