UK pub market faces 61% decline in 2020

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UK pub market faces 61% decline in 2020 £14bn loss Lumina Intelligence

Related tags: Lumina Intelligence, Pub market, Coronavirus, lockdown, Coronavirus tier system

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will wipe £14bn from the pub sector in 2020, although the market is set to tentatively recover next year according to Lumina Intelligence.

The UK pub market is set to contract by 61% this year, from £23bn in 2019 to just £9bn in 2020.

Lumina Intelligence’s new UK Pub Market Report 2020 reveals that the foremost reason consumers have stayed away from open pubs is to avoid busy places amid virus fears.

However, only 11% say that they do not feel comfortable going to a pub, providing an opportunity to entice a majority of consumers back to the pub with enhanced safety measures.

Despite the challenges of 2020, renewed confidence following the announcement of a potential vaccine becoming available in early 2021 sees the market forecast to somewhat bounce-back next year.

The report predicts that the UK pub market will grow 104% in 2021, reclaiming over £9bn of the value lost due to the coronavirus this year.

This growth will be driven by a return of consumer confidence, but also innovation and creativity from operators demonstrated since the pandemic began.

Despite considerable unfavourable variables, creative operators are expanding and weather proofing outdoor space, introducing delivery services and tapping into digital solutions. 

Elevating customer experience will encourage consumers out over the coming months and be critical in market recovery, with the report highlighting that 45% of pub operators noted outdoor space as the area that they will invest most in over the next year.

Demand for takeaway will also continue post-lockdown.

The report shows 16% of consumers have purchased takeaway beer during lockdown, and 76% would continue to do so if the service remains in place.

“Coronavirus has had a profound impact on the UK pub market, with over half of its value set to be wiped off in 2020," says Sarah Coleman, insight & communications director at Lumina.

"However, we have seen creativity and innovation in abundance across the market, as operators tackle the challenges head on.

"The rapid adoption of digital solutions, the creative use of outdoor spaces and the additional focus on customer experience have highlighted the resilience of a sector that continues to face the full force of government restrictions.

"It is this resilience and innovation that will see the sector recover £9bn worth of lost value in 2021.”

Data from the UK Pub Market Report 2020​ comes as the pub sector faces an existential crisis, with many businesses facing the prospect of having to remain closed during the usually busy Christmas period as a result of tougher tier restrictions​ that are set to come into force next week.

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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