Consumers paid a total of 165 million visits to pubs, bars and clubs over Christmas—15 million more than in the previous festive season.
That is one of the headline findings of exclusive new research of Christmas footfall trends from 5,000 consumers, along with sales data from more than 5,000 managed outlets around the UK from the CGA Peach Trading Index.
More visits, drinks, food
It found that 37.8 million consumers visited the on-trade in the four weeks to 3 January—equating to an average of more than four visits each. Venues sold an average of 569 more drinks over Christmas than in an average month—and over the four weeks, total food and drink sales were up 2.0% on last year.
CGA Strategy’s findings chime with positive Christmas trading updates from leading pub operators including JD Wetherspoon, Fuller’s, Marston’s, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers. They also tally with data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which revealed that like for like sales for managed pub and bar groups in the longer six-week period to January 3 were also up 2.0% on 2013, though that figure is from a different sample, and includes casual dining restaurants as well as pubs.
A host of further insights from the research include:
- Festive footfall reached a peak on New Year’s Eve, when 11.3 million visits were made to the on-trade—half of them to pubs
- Christmas Eve and ‘Black Friday’ were also bumper days, with 9.6 million visits paid on each—and the latter marked the on-trade’s best day for drinks sales
- Christmas Day, on which more and more consumers are choosing to eat out, was the day attracting the largest total of food and drink sales
- Food is now just as important to pubs as drink, which accounted for 51% of total sales over Christmas—down from 52% last year
- Consumers like to experiment when eating and drinking out at Christmas, with 2.2 million trying a new product or drink.
CGA Strategy client services director Rachel Perryman said: “This research shows that visits to pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs are an integral part of the UK’s Christmas—but it also reveals ways in which the on-trade can get an even bigger share of the festive spend. Operators who get their offer spot on and are prepared to experiment with products and promotions will be best placed to take advantage when Christmas comes around again.”
CGA Peach is a division of CGA Strategy, the leading expert in market dynamics for the UK’s drinking and eating out markets. For more information about the Christmas report or other research, call 0161 476 8330, email email@example.com or visit www.cgastrategy.co.uk