Here are six of the most significant.
1 Cautious confidence
CGA’s research shows consumers’ confidence in the On Premise is increasing, with 80% already returning to the trade since July. However, two thirds (67%) say they are concerned that life won’t get back to normal by the end of 2021, and even more (77%) are concerned about COVID’s long-term financial implications. Confidence is particularly high among younger adults, but older ones still need more reassurances about safety.
As in many countries, Ireland and Northern Ireland have seen a growing polarisation between those seeking premium and value experiences. Around a quarter (24%) of consumers say it matters more to them than before COVID that their drink is high quality—but even more (30%) say good value has become more important. This emphasises the need for suppliers and operators to identity a range of brands and price points that appeal to consumers’ different needs.
3 Staying local
COVID and lockdowns increased consumers’ interest in local venues, and these attitudes are transferring into drinks choices. One in ten (10%) consumers says it’s more important that their drink is local than it was before COVID, and 15% think it’s important that their brand is Irish. Whiskey, craft beer and ale or stout drinkers are all more likely than average to be interested in where their brand is from.
For many consumers, COVID highlighted the need for healthy eating and drinking in the On Premise. Three quarters (76%) now proactively try to lead a healthy lifestyle, and one in ten (10%) says it’s important that their drink is healthy than it was a year ago. This is opening up growth potential in no and low alcohol categories, especially cocktails and beer, and could make hard seltzers an even bigger opportunity for suppliers in 2022, with nearly half (46%) of consumers aware of them now.
As they return to the On Premise after many months away, consumers have been showing an appetite for new and different drinks. Two thirds (66%) of 18 to 34 year-olds say they like to keep up to date with the latest trends and fashions—16 percentage points higher than the average—and city residents heavily over-index too. Correctly positioning and promoting new brands to these consumers—especially in categories like craft beer, flavoured gin and whiskey, where interest is especially high—will be key to growth in the months ahead.
The surge in interest in cocktails shows no sign of slowing. More than a quarter (28%) of consumers now drink them out of home, and just under a quarter are drinking more of them than they did a year ago. Again, it is younger adults and city dwellers that are driving the trend, while Sex on the Beach, daiquiri and mojito are the three top choices. In an ultra-competitive cocktail market, innovation in taste and serve is going to be crucial to success.
These insights are drawn from CGA’s OPUS survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,500 On Premise visitors. The research provides a rich resource of data and insights that help to show how consumers are interacting with restaurants, pubs and bars. It helps suppliers and operators answer category, channel, occasion and brand questions and optimise sales and marketing strategies in Ireland and Northern Ireland. To learn more, email Phillip Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org