A nationwide survey of 2,000 UK consumers by business advisory firm Zolfo Cooper discovered that while visits to pubs, bars, and restaurants have remained broadly static in 2013, visits to nightclubs have slumped to their lowest level since the research began.
Respondents said they were visiting nightclubs an average of 1.7 times per month – down from 2.5 times in 2012 – equating to 20 visits per year. Among the key age group of 18 to 34-year-olds, visits fell from 2.7 times per month to 1.7 times - the first time that the number of visits has dipped below two per month for this category.
“Whilst young people will always want to go dancing, our research continues to suggest that the younger generation are rejecting the formal ‘big box’ nightclub experience,” said Paul Hemming, partner and head of corporate finance at Zolfo.
“If you only have the funds to go clubbing once or at most twice a month then you will only go to the ‘best’ venues, which are typically run by specialist operators catering to their local market.
“The generation that grew up before the Licensing Act 2003, which extended pub opening hours, are now in, or approaching, their thirties, where clubbing is a lesser priority. Nightclubs have to offer a better experience to attract the younger generation who have grown up dancing in a good late-night bar.
“The good nightclub operators continue to deliver strong results, but running multiple nightclub venues successfully is becoming the pursuit of the chosen few, who are genuine experts. Despite the tough market the recent flotation of Eclectic Bar Group shows there is still investor interest in this market.”
Women were even less likely to visit traditional late-night venues than men, visiting just 1.5 times per month – again, a new low. The trend for consumers to visit clubs later was consistent with 2012: 28 per cent of clubbers do not enter a venue before midnight; 30 per cent of visitors went to clubs at 11pm while 29 per cent were in at 10pm or earlier.
Counting alcohol units
Meanwhile, the report, which is now in its sixth edition, also found that the Government and health bodies’ attempts to persuade consumers to think about how many alcohol units they are consuming appear to be failing, with the vast majority of UK adults admitting that they don’t keep track.
Seventy-one per cent of respondents said that they did not keep track of the number of units of alcohol consumed each week. Men were less likely to keep track of units than women, while the over-55 age group were the most likely to ‘unit count’ (27 per cent).
Only 14 per cent of the 18-34 year old age bracket said they kept track of the units of alcohol they had consumed over a week, Zolfo Cooper found.
“In the face of binge-drinking headlines plus significant investment by government and the alcohol industry, the stark reality is that the majority of UK consumers show no interest in tracking their alcohol consumption,” added Hemming.
“If the government is to make progress in this area then a new approach is required to bring home the impact our heavy drinking culture often has on people’s health, wealth and happiness.”