1 Rising confidence
OPUS shows nine in ten (89%) consumers now feel very or quite confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants—a big upswing of 23 percentage points since 2021. It is a welcome sign that hospitality has returned to nearly full capacity—though it’s worth remembering that a small number of consumers may remain anxious about crowded venues for a while yet.
2 After-work drinks and big nights bounce back
The reopening of Ireland’s On Premise triggered a wave of celebratory occasions, as consumers caught up on the visits they had missed during lockdowns. These remain the most popular reason to eat and drink out, but we have seen a strong recovery in other occasions too. More than a quarter (28%) of consumers say they go out for after-work drinks at least once every quarter—up by ten percentage points year-on-year after a steady return of people to workplaces. Those going out for high tempo drinks has also risen as COVID-19 concerns ease—by eight percentage points to 21%.
3 Trust in brands
After months of closures in the On Premise, consumers have returned to the drinks brands they trust. OPUS shows half (51%) think well-known brands are important in their choices, making it a more significant factor than quality (44%)—though drinkers retain high expectations that their drink will provide good value for their spend.
4 Room for trade-ups
Returning consumers have been ready to treat themselves to more premium options when they go out. Well over half (58%) say they are likely to pay extra for a better quality drink, and cocktail drinkers are particularly willing to upgrade. Whether this trend is sustained through the cost of living crisis remains to be seen.
5 No and low grows
People’s sharp focus on wellbeing since the start of the pandemic is translating into growing appetite for healthy drinks. More than a third (37%) say they are drinking no or low alcohol alternatives more often than they were a year ago. Nearly as many (35%) are buying hard seltzers more frequently too.
6 Opportunities at Christmas
Rising confidence and the first ‘normal’ Christmas since 2019 mean December could be a bumper month. More than half (55%) plan to visit the On Premise over the festive period, and there are opportunities to attract the 27% who are unsure for now. December also brings the football World Cup, and half (51%) plan to watch games in pubs and bars. For operators and suppliers, balancing their needs with those of Christmas party-goers is going to be crucial.
CGA’s OPUS survey provides many more expert insights into Irish consumers’ behaviour since the end of COVID-19 restrictions, and can help suppliers plan winning strategies in the run-up to Christmas and beyond. OPUS is complemented by CGA’s sales and outlet data to provide an unrivalled holistic view of Ireland’s On Premise. To learn more, email Sian Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org.