Pubs and bars still a hit with UK adults

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs and bars are still the number one leisure destination for UK adults, with visits now in a period of growth
Pubs and bars are still the number one leisure destination for UK adults, with visits now in a period of growth

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Pubs and bars are still the number one out-of-home leisure destinations for adults, according to a new report from Carlsberg UK.

The Consumer Insights Report 2014, published today, revealed that 34 per cent of consumers choose to frequent pubs and bars, compared to 30 per cent visiting coffee shops and 17 per cent visiting restaurants.

Furthermore, the report revealed that on-trade visits have stabilised since the recession, with weekly pub visits up 1 per cent since 2010 and level with visits in 2012.

Looking at the demographics of pub goers, the report revealed that pubs and bars are increasingly popular destinations for singles between 36-54 year olds (visits up 5 per cent), families (visits up 3 per cent) and couple’s whose children have left home (visits up 2 per cent)

However, the popularity of pubs is falling among 18-24 year olds (visits down 6 per cent) and nesting couples (visits down 7 per cent).

The report said this could be attributed to declining interest in alcohol among young people, who are also much less likely to drink at home than older adults. The report showed that just 43 per cent of young singles drink at home, compared to 53 per cent of singles aged 36-54 and 74 per cent of retired adults.

Social focus

In order to attract young adults, pubs and bars must create ‘social and shared experiences’ and prompt visits beyond the ‘big night out’, the report claimed.

It suggested that pubs and bars should focus on social media activity to engage with younger consumers, with 28 per cent of people now using the internet to find out what is going on at a venue, up from 19 per cent in 2010, and 18 per cent of people using social media, up from just 6 per cent in 2010.

Although Facebook seems like the obvious choice for social media activity and promotions, with even 76 per cent of customers over 50 years using it, the report suggested that pubs and bars should use other channels to target younger age groups. Twitter is used by 58 per cent of young, free and singles, with Snapchat popular among 39 per cent and YouTube watched by 78 per cent.

Women vs Men

The report also found that women visit pubs and bars less frequently than men (24 per cent vs 44 per cent), with lack of engagement among women putting pressure on male visits.

It is therefore vital for pubs and bars to get their offer right and make the environment, food and drinks range and service level attractive to for genders.

With women generally drinking less than men and more likely to visit a coffee shop or watch a film than their male partners, the report suggested that operators should think about how they can introduce these experiences into their venues.

Staying relevant

Kathryn Purchase, director of customer marketing at Carlsberg UK, says: “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.”

The Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report 2014 explored the trends, habits and behaviours of almost 2,000 pub and bar users. Carlsberg UK will analyse the findings to provide relevant, tangible advice to their customers through its We Deliver More website, online training portals and through direct contact with its customers.

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