The Dawn of a New Era for the Nation’s Pubs, Bars and Clubs

We’ve just launched our 2015/16 Consumer Insights Report, which explores the insights, trends and issues shaping consumer behaviour and pub visits in the UK.

In my role as category development manager, I have the privilege of working across both the on-trade and the off-trade, providing me with a truly holistic view of how consumers spend their time and the role that our industry plays in their lives.

It’s an exciting and challenging time for pubs, bars and clubs as consumers behave very differently to a decade ago. This is in the way that they spend their money, socialise with each other and also how they express themselves.

For me, and many of our customers that I speak to – it feels like the dawn of a new era for the on-trade. After riding the wave of the recession and fragile consumer confidence, it has come back fighting with an explosion of choice.

For the first time in 5 years, thanks to the success of food-led venues, the long-term decline of licensed premises has bottomed out and has started to grow. With treat behaviours at an all-time high it’s unsurprising that consumers are now spending more out of the home than ever before.

The pub remains the number one activity, but competition is fierce and its challenge is to maintain relevance and retain its share of the leisure-pound. This year’s report explores the big trends affecting people’s lives and their behaviours when they go out. This includes everything from premiumisation, moderation, treat behaviours, experience seeking and the nations obsession with food.

One key takeout for me, is the fundamental difference between millennials (those born between 1980-2000), and those born prior to this era. Millennials behaviours, choices, needs and wants are driving a big shift in the on-trade, and they are an increasingly important group to target.

Being (just about) a millennial myself, I’m excited and drawn in by the choice that I’m confronted with today. This is not only with what’s on the bar and in the fridge at my local pub, but also with the completely different options that the leisure landscape has to offer. New experiences such as zorbing, lock in games or street food festivals are all on my doorstep, vying for my attention.

Despite increased competition, I have absolutely no doubt that the on-trade has a bright and exciting future with millennials and will remain at the heart of the on-trade. However, we must acknowledge that it’s landscape is changing rapidly, and it’s vital that we continue to understand and respond to the changing behaviours of the people coming through the doors of the nation’s pubs, bars and clubs.

We’re are at the beginning of probably the most exciting period the industry has seen for years, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds, helping to keep our customers one-step-ahead throughout the journey.

Blog post contributed by Sarah Allaway, category development manager

Download the report, here.