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New research from leading On Premise analysts CGA indicates that French consumers are ready to return to bars, restaurants and cafés as restrictions ease.
CGA’s REACH (Research & Analyse Consumers in Hospitality) survey of over 1,000 consumers in France reveals that nearly three quarters (74%) plan to eat and drink out again within the first few weeks of reopening. Nearly as many (71%) say they feel confident about visiting terraces when France’s restaurants, bars and cafes are permitted to open for outdoor service from 19 May.
The REACH survey shows how eating and drinking out remains engrained in French lifestyle despite the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns. Nearly nine in ten (87%) of its consumers typically visit the On Premise, and around half (48%) do so at least once weekly.
This enthusiasm has led consumers to get back to venues quickly after France’s previous lockdowns. CGA’s international research across 24 markets shows that the number of consumers returning within a few months of reopening in summer 2020 (87%) was much higher than in comparable periods in the UK (65%) and US (59%).
Graeme Loudon, CGA managing director EMEA and APAC, said: “France’s restaurants, bars and cafes endured a very challenging 2020 and early 2021, but consumers are clearly very eager to get back to them as soon as they are able. If restrictions can be successfully eased and consumers’ confidence is sustained, all evidence points to a strong recovery for the market over the summer.”
CGA’s Volume Pool data, which tracks the sales of drinks into On Premise outlets, shows the impact of long periods of closure on France’s drinking-out market. Despite sales of beer and cider, spirits and soft drinks in the On Premise falling (-44.6%), sales quickly recovered when venues were permitted to reopen, with beer and spirits sales between June and September 2020 only down 17% and 14% respectively on the same period in 2019 despite restrictions.
Research also highlights the importance of a strong presence in restaurants, bars and cafés to the overall success of any drinks brand. In France, nearly a third (31%) of alcohol is consumed in the On Premise, and nearly half (46%) of consumers say that experiences in the On Premise have prompted their purchasing decisions in the Off Premise.
Graeme Loudon added: “While the Off Premise has increased its share of drinks sales in recent months, it is clear that the French population retains enormous affection for drinking out. The On Premise remains the best place to launch, promote and build brands through effective engagement with consumers. However, both the outlet landscape and consumers’ behaviour have evolved since the start of the pandemic, and some changes are likely to be permanent. It will be crucial for operators and suppliers to achieve a detailed understanding of consumers’ attitudes and priorities as they return to venues.”
CGA is providing further insights into France’s On Premise as it prepares to reopen to consumers. For more information about CGA’s market measurement and consumer research and how it can help operators and suppliers to optimise sales and marketing strategies, please contact Ben Krzysica at Ben.Krzysica@cgastrategy.com.