Spring into action: Leveraging changing consumer drinks preferences in South Korea

CGA by NIQ’s research reveals how South Korea’s consumers change their drinks preferences in the Spring—making it an ideal time to launch new products in the On Premise.

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CGA’s OPUS insights reveal that after a small dip in visits recently, Spring has brought more consumers back to the On Premise. Nearly half (48%) said they had been out for a drink in March—four percentage points more than in February. The number going out more often or with the same frequency also rose by four percentage points, to 82%. 


Many of these consumers are looking for fresh experiences and drinks. A third (33%) said they were going out more often because there are new places they want to try, while 14% have been motivated by the time of year. Half (49%) say the arrival of Spring means they are likely to change the drinks they buy when they are out. 


These positive trends signal opportunities for drinks suppliers and venues to develop new brands and build loyalty. Understanding exactly what consumers want will be keen to success, and CGA’s Consumer Pulse research highlights their new priorities. It shows half (52%) of those changing their choices are looking for different flavours, while 44% plan to move to other categories, like cocktails instead of beer. 


As the weather improves, consumers also want cool and thirst-quenching options. Nearly half (47%) say refreshing characteristics are appealing in Spring, and nearly as many want their drinks to be light (40%) and fresh (39%). High numbers enjoy fruity (54%) and sweet (45%) flavours, while floral and citrus characteristics become more popular as well. 


CGA’s research also indicates what suppliers and operators can do to engage these drinkers—especially via recommendations. More than half (45%) of those looking for a new drink in Spring are likely to ask a bartender for suggestions, which makes it vital to invest in staff training in venues. Data from the South Korea Bartender Report has shown that nearly nine in ten (88%) bar staff recommend drinks to guests every week, and 87% say their customers frequently buy those recommendations.


Deals can be another important trigger for sales. Many South Korean consumers remain concerned about high prices in the On Premise, but food and drink deals would encourage 39% and 19% of consumers respectively to go out more often.


Jaepil Sohn, CGA by NIQ’s client solutions director, South Korea, said: “It’s important to remember that consumers’ On Premise behaviour changes significantly with the seasons, and their experimentation at this time of year makes it an ideal moment for NPD. Providing the right flavours, leveraging the expertise of bar staff and crafting attractive promotions are just three of the ways to gain sales and share. We’re delighted to provide the market knowledge that is essential for suppliers and venues to capitalise on all the new opportunities that Spring brings.”


CGA’s expert consumer research provides in-depth analysis of Spring trends to help businesses identify consumers’ key purchasing drivers and develop successful NPD strategies. To learn more about CGA’s market-leading suite of solutions, contact Jaepil Sohn here. 

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