If you would like to read this article in French please click here.
The pandemic has changed French consumers’ On Premise habits significantly, and the cost of living crisis is likely to be another catalyst for change in the coming months.
CGA’s OPUS research reveals 89% of consumers have been out to eat and drink in the last three months and over a quarter (26%) are planning to spend more on eating and drinking out over the next 12 months.
However, over a third of consumers (36%), have stated they will go out less frequently in the On Premise as a result of cost pressures, and 21% have stated they will be visiting Nightclubs less often in the next 12 months. While these consumers will be reducing their frequency, a significant proportion (71%) still plan to visit late night venues such as bars as often or more frequently.
When further exploring outlet visitation consumers are still actively planning to make visits to cafes (33%) casual dining restaurants (30%), and hotels (28%) just as often or more often in the next 12 months. Targeting consumers who will be maintaining their frequency and spend in the channel will be crucial for operators and suppliers to make those most of these visitation opportunities.
The research also reveals some consumers are increasingly focused on value. Nearly a quarter (23%) state they will be looking for more value options when out eating and drinking. However, value does not necessarily mean cheaper options for all consumers, and only 13% will choose cheaper options when out. As consumers desire both value and quality, ensuring quality is demonstrated to the consumer in brand offerings, messaging and serve strategy is important.
56% of French consumers are likely to pay more for a better-quality drink and 55% can still be influenced by bartender recommendations even if they have already decided what to drink. The role of knowledgeable bar staff and brand advocates present trade-up opportunities for premium offerings. Craft Beer is the top category French consumers are likely to trade up in. Outlets need bartender training and clear pricing options to present a great opportunity to upsell.
Despite some French consumers likely to change their habits, there are still many who will continue to enjoy the On Premise as they always have – with 20% stating they will continue to visit with no change in their behaviour as a result of the cost of living crisis.
Continuing to engage this segment of consumers will help support sales performance. In the Beer category, 32% of French consumers aged 18-34 always choose the same drink brands, while 36% like to try new/different drinks or brands. Innovation and new portfolio offerings can help to keep consumers engaged and returning to target brands when they go out. As such, when ordering a non-alcoholic beverage, almost half (47%) of consumers favour No/Low beer.
Graeme Loudon, CGA managing director EMEA, said: “CGA research shows that restaurants and bars are a huge part of consumers’ lives in France, and they will remain a key spending priority in the months ahead. However, the effect of the cost of living crisis means that some consumers will be changing their On Premise habits. Suppliers should find ways to meet the increasing demand for value, without neglecting guests who remain interested in premium experiences. It will be more important than ever to track consumers’ drinking preferences and occasions, and to respond nimbly in order to successfully position drinks brands in a very competitive market.”
The full impact of the cost of living crisis is yet to be experienced with French consumers. The upcoming months will paint a clearer picture of how these economic challenges may further change behaviours. Drinks manufacturers and suppliers who are ready to adapt strategies by considering premiumisation and polarisation, consumers’ path to purchase and innovation opportunities will be well placed to drive sales and grow market share.
CGA’s OPUS research provides expert analysis of trends and opportunities across France’s On Premise. It delivers actionable insights for manufacturers and suppliers in all drinks categories, helping to effectively position brands, win share and encourage trial, trade-up and loyalty. To learn more about CGA’s research capabilities, contact Graeme Loudon at email@example.com.