Going to a pub or bar becoming less popular among under-25s

carlsberg drinkers

Visiting pubs and bars remains the number-one leisure activity out of the home for British adults – but it is becoming less popular among young people aged 18 to 25.

A new study from leading beer and cider business Carlsberg UK today reveals that 34% of consumers choose to go to pubs and bars compared to 31% for shops, 30% for coffee shops and 17% for restaurants.

Weekly visits to pubs and bars have risen 1% since 2010, particularly appealing to singles between 36 and 54 whose weekly visits are up 5%. For families, it is up 3% and those whose children have grown up and fled the nest are making 2% more visits per week.

However, the Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report 2014 also identified that the number of adults aged 18 to 25 who visit pubs and bars has fallen from 42% in 2010 to 36% in 2014. This matches other research that indicates that consumption of alcohol is becoming less important to younger people.

The report highlights the key to attracting young adults to pubs and bars is to create social and shared experiences and prompting occasions beyond the “big night out”.

It also shows that drinking at home has declined by 2% since 2010 to 48% in 2014. Younger drinkers rank the lowest for this activity with just 43% versus 74% of retired adults whose children have left home and 59% of 36- to 54-year-olds who are single with no children.

Kathryn Purchase, director of customer marketing at Carlsberg UK, said: “The findings of our research are good news for the on-trade. Even in the face of negative press surrounding the prospects for pubs and bars, average weekly visits have increased.

“Pubs and bars remain central to people’s leisure choices and are by far the favourite out-of-home activity for the UK adult.

“However, as with even the greatest insight, headline statistics add little value unless we collectively take action according to the results. For instance, our research warns the pub is in danger of being less relevant to the next generation. The on-trade visitor is definitely changing and pubs need to be flexible enough to adapt and cater for them.

“With finite disposable incomes and increased competition for the leisure pound, it’s vital that we understand the needs and desires of people coming through the doors of the nation’s pubs, bars and clubs.”

Now in its third year, the Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report 2014 explores the trends, habits and behaviours of almost 2,000 of today’s pub and bar users, revealing what is driving their weekly leisure pursuits.

Carlsberg UK will analyse the findings to provide relevant, tangible advice to its customers through its We Deliver More website, online training portals and through direct contact with its customers.

Researchers also found that online activity is becoming more crucial than ever for the on-trade. The influence of personal recommendations is decreasing while 28% of people use the internet to find out what’s happening at a venue – up from 19% in 2010.

The use of social media has seen an even steeper increase with 18% using social media today, versus just 6% in 2010. The choice of platform depends on the target audience, with younger adults preferring Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube, and older consumers favouring Facebook.

However, local newspapers remain important, with 32% of people relying on them to find out about pub and bar openings compared to 21% of people using social media for the same reason.

Only a quarter of women visit pubs and bars weekly, compared to 44% of men, but that rises to 63% monthly which highlights an opportunity for pubs and bars to attract them more regularly.

Only 1% of pub and bar goers visit just one outlet. Half have a repertoire of between five to 10 outlets, with a further 13% having 11 or more pubs and bars which they choose from for a variety of occasions.

Pub and bar visits have stabilised since the recession and are now in a period of growth, with 34% of consumers choosing the pub as a weekly leisure pursuit, up from 33% in 2010, and level from 34% in 2012.

The report found that 38% of “empty nesters”, who are retired or have reduced work, and whose children have left home, are in the pub at least once a week, compared to 33% of those 18 to 25.

Personal recommendations (63%) and just walking in (56%) are still the top two reasons for visiting a pub or bar. However, this is down from 69% and 58% respectively in 2010.

Two-thirds of respondents said that they would be attracted to a venue that was offering all-day low prices. When eating out with their family, 63% of respondents would look for a food and drink meal deal.

During the week from Monday to Thursday, most respondents budget £10 to £15 spending money for pub and bar visits.

Although more people are likely to spend a greater amount of money on Saturday evenings (22% will budget for up to £30), a higher percentage of people will look to spend the average of £15 to £20 on Sunday evenings and during the week.

More pub and bar-goers (48%) have tried a new drink in the last month, up from 37% in 2010 and 43% in 2012.

Among people with young children, 47% are visiting the pub at least once a week.

Free wi-fi is an important factor for choosing an outlet for 41% of people, up from 18% in 2010. However, respondents placed food, drink and value above wi-fi or late hours of operation.

35% of all respondents say cleanliness of a pub and bar is very important to them.

A good-quality cocktail was appreciated most by people who have retired or have reduced working hours and whose children have left home above any other demographic.

64% of families would head to the pub for Mother’s Day, with 58% saying the same for Father’s Day.

Smoking is no longer of crucial importance to pub and bar goers – almost two thirds (63%) of respondents do not look for a good smoking area.

At least 80% of all respondents said they would happily celebrate a birthday with the family in the on-trade.

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